Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average gained 183.56 points, or 2.1 percent, to 9,043.12 -- its first close above 9,000 since Nov. 10.
- The dollar was at 92.02 yen, up from yen 91.79.
Friday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 258.30, or 2.94 percent, to 9,034.69 -- up 6.1 percent for the week. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 55.18, or 3.50 percent, to 1,632.21.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.39 percent late Friday from 2.22 percent late Wednesday.
- The dollar was at was at 92.28 yen from 90.73 yen, while the euro was at $1.3851 from $1.3969 late Wednesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures finished with moderate gains.
- Soybeans: Futures ended the day slightly lower after trading on both sides of unchanged throughout the session.
- Wheat: Futures saw a very choppy day of trade.
- Cotton: Futures ended just slightly lower, but the final tick of the day was well above the session low.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures funds exiting short positions helped to push futures higher to open trade for 2009.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures ended the day sharply higher despite steady cash.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Obama Eyes $300 Billion Tax Cut Huge Breaks for Firms, Individuals Are Aimed at Winning GOP Support for Stimulus Tax cuts totaling $300 billion are said to be part of the stimulus package the incoming Obama administration is working on, including breaks for individuals and businesses. Business provisions would allow them to write off losses from 2008 and would give them tax credits if they boost hiring or keep job levels unchanged.
Experts' Rx on How to Get Out of This Mess
- Probe Leads Richardson to Abandon Cabinet Bid New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson has removed himself from consideration to be Commerce Secretary due to an investigation into a firm that donated money to him and also won a contract with the state.
- Rail Shippers Ask Congress to Regulate Freight Prices. Those using rails to ship goods, etc., are calling for more regulation of the rail carriers, noting that costs have risen more for rail transport more than other forms like trucks. Some in the rail industry say this only helps make up for years where their profitability suffered.
- Crisis Saps Hunger for U.S. Beef. Expectations are now that U.S. beef exports will suffer in 2009, but the question remains on how big that impact will be.
- Commodities Look Around for Inflation. Results from fertilizer firm Mosaic and seed maker Monsanto are expected this week and the item also looks at the outlook for other commodity-related businesses.
- Calls Grow to Cap Property Taxes Higher Assessed Values Push Up Bills, Sparking Outcry as Market Prices Drop Support appears to be building in some states for a cap on property taxes or taking them back to levels seen prior to the runup in home values.
- Reid Appears to Give Burris an Opening. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) Sunday said it was possible that Roland Burris could be seated in the U.S. Senate. Burris was appointed by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich to fill the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.
- China Accelerates Filling Up Its Oil Reserves. Some estimate the country has stockpiled an additional 25 million barrels of oil since August.
- Japan's Central Bank Weighs Measures to Curb Stronger Yen . The head of Japan's Central Bank signaled that monetary policy may be one of the ways they seek to deal with the strong yen which has curbed Japan's export competitiveness.
- How to Make Sure the Stimulus Works We should invest in projects that make us more productive. Opinion item by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.). Sen. Gregg offers advice to his Democratic colleagues on how to make sure the stimulus plan gets the most bang for the buck.
- Funny Business in Minnesota In which every dubious ruling seems to help Al Franken. Commentary item. The paper keeps up its criticism of the recount process in Minnesota where challenger Al Franken appears poised to be declared the winner.
- How the SEC Can Prevent More Madoffs Bolster its risk-assessment and enforcement staff.. Commentary item by Arthur Levitt, head of the SEC from 1993 to 2001. Levitt says that the Madoff situation does not mean that the SEC is a "failed institution."
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Obama Plan Includes $300 Billion in Tax Cuts President-elect Obama's economic recovery plan is now said to include some $300 billion in tax cuts for workers and businesses. Democratic leaders now say that approval of the plan in time for the Jan.20 inauguration is not likely.
- Richardson Won't Pursue Cabinet Post The New Mexico governor withdrew from consideration for the Commerce Post, saying an investigation posed a potential lengthy delay in his confirmation process.
- Speaker Makes Room for New No. 1 Democrat. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says having Obama in the White House puts her in a "stronger" position, while others note she will have to adjust some now.
- A 50-Year Farm Bill . Op-ed item by Wes Jackson, a plant geneticist and president of The Land Institute in Salina, Kan., and Wendell Berry, a farmer and writer in Port Royal, Ky. The writers put in a push for more soil-saving efforts to be put into law.
- Commerce Pick Richardson Withdraws, Citing N.M. Probe New Mexico's Bill Richardson insisted that he and his staff "have acted properly in all matters" and predicted that the investigation would exonerate him. However, in light of the time it will take to resolve the situation, he opted to exit the Cabinet process.
- Kaine Poised To Chair The DNC Va. Governor to Hold Position Part Time In Last Year in Office The reports say Virginia's governor will hold both that role and the head of the DNC in his final year in office. Republicans in the state could potentially seize on the development to raise concerns about whether or not Kaine is focused on the business of the state.
- Top Democrats Give Longer Timetable for Stimulus Bill Democratic leaders are starting to signal their plan to rapidly approve a stimulus plan may not be met with reality. House leaders say they now hope to have a bill done by the end of the month and Senate leader Reid says there's no artificial timeline binding that chamber.
||Monitoring the countryside
Wichita Eagle (Kansas)
- AGRICULTURE From Jan. 1 editions. The item looks back at key events for ag from 2008 and looks ahead to 2009.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: 10. "It's so cold, auto company executives are asking Congress for soup" 9. "It's so cold, Tom Cruise is making a movie about a plot to assassinate Al Roker" 8. "It's so cold, Starbucks is selling antifreeze macchiatos" 7. "It's so cold, MSNBC employees gathered around Keith Olberman's giant head for warmth" 6. "It's so cold, Bernie Madoff was defrauding Eskimos" 5. It's so cold, this morning it took Joe Biden 40 minutes to defrost his hair plugs" 4. "It's so cold, O.J. led an armed raid to retrieve his space heater" 3. "It's so cold, Apple just introduced something called the iScarf" 2. "It's so cold, Iraqis are throwing snowshoes at President Bush" 1. "It's so cold, Santa said, 'Screw Christmas' and took off for Rio"