Obama Shifts Some Cuba Policies

April 13, 2009 07:00 PM

Snapshot of news and events for today

Quick links

* Financial markets

* Ag futures

* USDA reports this week

* NWS forecast

* Major media

* Ag media

* Political humorists

Financial markets Major world indicators

Japanese trading...

  • The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average lost 81.75 points, or 0.9 percent, to 8,842.68.

  • The dollar was at 99.70 yen from 100.34 yen.

Monday's U.S. Markets...

  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25.57, or 0.3 percent, to 8,057.81. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.77, or 0.1 percent, to 1,653.31.
  • The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.86 percent from 2.92 percent late Thursday.

  • The dollar was at was at 100.04 yen, down from 100.30 yen, while the euro was at $1.3375, well above $1.3177 late Friday.

Ag futures Yesterday's action and
overnight indicators

What happened the prior trading day...

  • Corn: Futures trimmed gains to finish mostly around 2 cents lower. Futures closed just off session highs, seeing spillover from gains in the bean pit.
  • Soybeans: Futures opened weaker on spillover from crude oil, but rallied amid Chinese demand rumors. Nearby soybeans closed 10 to 14 1/2 cents higher, with deferreds up 3 to 6 cents.

  • Wheat: Futures opened weaker on spillover from weakness in the crude oil market, but turned mixed on spillover from soybeans. Chicago wheat closed 3/4 to 1 1/4 cents higher, with Kansas City narrowly mixed and Minneapolis slightly to 6 cents lower.
  • Cotton: Futures posted a choppy day of trade, finishing firmer in all but the May contract, which closed 26 points lower. The rest of the pit closed 19 to 28 points higher.
  • Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures opened under light pressure, but turned mixed as the cash market started stronger than expected.
  • Live Cattle: Live cattle futures opened slightly lower, but live cattle closed mixed and feeders finished 15 to 80 cents higher.

Scheduled USDA Reports & Summaries This Week

Agricultural Marketing Service = (A)
Census Bureau = (CB)
Economic Research Service = (E)

Farm Service Agency (FSA)

Foreign Ag Service = (F)

National Agricultural Statistics Service = (N)

World Agricultural Outlook Board = (W)






April 13

Grain Inspections (A)
Wheat Outlook (E)
Feed Outlook (E)
Crop Progress (N)


Weather - Crop Summary (N)


Broiler Hatchery (N)
Meat Price Spreads (E)
Potato Stocks (N)
Turkey Hatchery (N)


U.S. Export Sales (F)
Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook (E)
Livestock and Poultry: World Markets and Trade (F)
Vegetables and Melons Outlook


Dairy Products Prices (N)
Cattle on Feed (N)
Milk Production (N)
Peanut Prices

Overview Other reports affecting agriculture
Major media Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact

Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)

  • U.S. Eases Firms' Access to Cuba Rules to Change for Telecom Companies; Communist Government's Approval Still Needed U.S. telecommunications firms can set up shop in Cuba now and the administration also lifted restrictions on Cuba-Americans to travel and send money to the island nation. However, some want more action and others signaled they thought implementation of the policies would require the U.S. to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.
    Related items:
    Ban Isn't Only Hurdle to Visiting Island
    Barriers to Visiting Island Nation Remain

  • White House Seeks Bill on Climate by December. White House energy/environment czar Carol Browner says the administration wants congressional action on climate change prior to the December meeting in Copenhagen, but lawmakers say even if they can't wrap up work by then, the direction they are heading would be clear.
  • Bank Vet Pegged to Run Bailout Fannie Mae Chief Executive Herb Allison is to be tapped to head up the Targeted Asset Relief Program (TARP) at the Treasury Dept., but it also means he must come up with a new head of Fannie Mae and also Freddie Mac.
    Related item:
    Fannie, Freddie Both Need CEOs

  • Tax Refunds Give Boost to Consumer Spending Internal Revenue Service data show that through April 3, total individual refunds were up by about 15%, to $210 billion, from $183 billion at the same point last year. That plus lower gasoline prices likely has supported consumer spending, but as those refund dollars dwindle, that could cause another downturn in consumer outlays.

New York Times (registration to site required)

  • Obama Opens Door to Cuba, but Only a Crack The item labels it the "most significant shift in United States policy toward Cuba in decades," but the White House stressed they are not yet willing to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba. The item also notes that the action also didn't ease trade restrictions.
  • U.S. May Drop Key Condition for Talks With Iran Talk is the Obama administration and European allies are hinting they may drop the condition that Iran immediately abandon its nuclear efforts as a precondition for talks.
  • Franken Had Most Votes, Court Says While the three-judge panel ruled Franken had more votes, expectations are the Coleman campaign will appeal the ruling to the state supreme court, keeping the matter unresolved.

Washington Post

  • Obama Lifts Broad Set Of Sanctions Against Cuba Barriers for U.S. Relatives And Telecoms Struck Down While leaving in place the trade embargo against Cuba that has existed since 1962, the administration announced it was removing travel restrictions and limits on telecommunications companies. However, the actions were criticized by those on both sides of the Cuban situation -- some saying it went too far while others said it wasn't enough.
  • Specter's Stimulus Vote Looms Large in Race Likely Opponent In Primary Looks to Tap Anger on Right The potential challenger to Sen. Arlen Specter is likely to use the senator's vote in favor of the economic stimulus package in a primary challenge that is still more than a year away.
  • Treasury Plans to Tap Fannie Mae Chief to Run Bailout Fannie Mae chief executive Herbert M. Allison Jr. is expected to be the Obama administration's choice to run the TARP program. Allison served on an advisory committee to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, of which current Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner was president. Allison formerly was vice chairman of Merrill Lynch and chief executive of TIAA-CREF.
Ag media Monitoring the countryside

Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)

  • City kids get a whiff of farm life The Nebraska Agricultural Youth Council organizes visits by elementary schools to farms in the state to educate kids on where their food comes from. The group has been doing this for nearly 40 years.
Laughing with, not at From political humorists

Jay Leno: "And there was a big rally on Wall Street yesterday after Citigroup reported a profit for the first two months of the year. That just goes to show you what determination, hard work, and 45 billion of our bailout dollars can do.”

Jay Leno: "Here's a sign of the times are a-changin'. The governor of Virginia has signed a new law banning smoking in bars and restaurants. In Virginia. See, that's significant because Virginia is, like, the tobacco state. That would be like the governor of California banning breast implants.”

Jay Leno: "And three different customers at a grocery store in Queens, New York, all bought peppers that turned out to have bags of cocaine stuffed inside” them. Well, "you thought spicy food kept you up all night.”

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