Snapshot of news and events for today
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average swung between gains and
losses at least 14 times, closing down 7.91, or 0.1 percent, to 13,849.56.
- The dollar was mostly lower in Asian trading, but marked modest
gains on its Japanese rival on talk of possible investment outflows.
The dollar bought 107.97 yen, up from 107.85 yen late Monday, but down
from a Tuesday high of 108.18 yen. The euro was buying $1.5569, up from
$1.5525 in late North American trading Monday.
Monday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped by 0.33 point to 11842.36,
nearly unchanged in percentage terms for the day. The Nasdaq Composite
Index ended down 0.9 percent, off 20.35 points, at 2385.74. .
- The 2-year Treasury note slipped 3/32, yielding 2.951 percent.
The benchmark 10-year note fell 1/32 to yield 4.172 percent.
- The dollar was higher against major rivals, including across-the-board
gains Monday against European denominations.
| Ag futures
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Despite gap-lower opens in all corn futures contracts,
on-going crop concerns provided support for higher closes. Old-crop
futures closed 3 to 3 1/4 higher with new-crop futures 3 3/4 to 5 1/4
- Soybeans:Old-crop soybean futures ended 10 1/2 to 18 cents
lower with new-crop futures 5 to 6 1/2 cents lower. Soybean meal closed
$5.30 to $7.70 lower in nearby contracts and slightly higher in far-deferred
futures. Soybean oil closed mostly 58 to 63 points lower. Much of the
pressure stemmed from restarted movement of new-crop supplies in Argentina.
- Wheat: Futures closed a fairly active session steady to slightly
mixed. Throughout the session, wheat was torn between pressure from
a higher dollar and support from the price "recovery" in corn.
- Cotton: A sharp rally in the U.S. dollar provided much of the
cover spec traders needed to take profits on long positions, forcing
a moderately lower close in cotton futures today. Most contracts ended
the session 50 to 79 points lower.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures were 12 cents to $1.02 lower with
the nearby contracts seeing the heaviest selling pressure. Continued
worries over high feed costs and herd liquidation weighed on nearby
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures futures ended the session
mostly narrowly mixed -- 25 cents lower to 22 cents higher. Feeder cattle
futures ended mostly 52 cents to $1.10 lower. Following Friday's bullish
Cattle on Feed Report, most contracts opened higher before profit-taking
entered the market.
reports affecting agriculture
to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for
- Oil Speculation Draws Scrutiny House Panel Told
Curbs on Trading Could Ease Prices Lawmakers eager to curb speculation
in oil markets got support Monday from witnesses who told a House subcommittee
that oil prices could fall sharply if Congress put strict limits on
trading in energy futures by investment banks, pension funds and other
financial investors. A panel of witnesses are sworn in to testify on
Capitol Hill on Monday. But officials of the Commodity Futures Trading
Commission disputed the findings of a Congressional study that concluded
70% of trading in certain key oil futures contracts is now speculative.
- Weak Links in the Food (Supply) Chain Firms Pinched
by Rising Commodity Prices Strive for Tech Efficiency Industry
analysts predict that rising commodity costs will make it easier to
justify buying new software that can help plan manufacturing cycles
and optimize delivery routes.
- Driving Away Oil Speculators May Not Help In congressional
hearings, witnesses and lawmakers decried the role of speculators in
energy markets -- but there's no evidence of the hoarding that often
accompanies wanton speculation or market manipulation.
- SEC Aims to Rein In The Role of Ratings The SEC plans
to propose rules that could diminish the importance of credit ratings
across various markets.
- Brazilian Beef Firm Buys Brazil's third-largest beef
exporter, Marfrig Frigorificos e Comercio de Alimentos SA, plans to
acquire the Brazilian and European assets of OSI Group for at least
$680 million in cash and shares, the company said on Monday.
New York Times (registration to site required)
With Farmers Takes Toll on Argentina Embattled president,
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, met with farm leaders late Monday.
Argentina’s Congress is expected to begin a thorny debate this
week on an export tax, which touched off the farmers’ revolt more
than three months ago. In a long-awaited concession, Mrs. Kirchner,
her popularity plummeting in opinion polls, agreed last week to let
Congress approve or reject the system of sliding taxes that she imposed
on farmers in March.
Visa Policy Threatens Olympics Tourism With the Beijing
Olympics less than two months away, hotel operators, travel agencies,
and foreign businessmen say new Chinese visa restrictions are proving
bad for business, casting a pall over Beijing during what was supposed
to be a busy and jubilant tourist season leading up to the Olympic Games.
Challenges Draw Out Divisions at Fed As Federal Reserve
policymakers sit down this morning to begin deciding whether to adjust
interest rates, they do so at a time of exceptional internal disagreement
over what approach the central bank should take.
Raises Mileage Rate to Reflect Gas Prices The Internal
Revenue Service, citing the drain that high gas prices are having on
people's finances, said yesterday that it is raising the automobile
mileage rate that businesses and others can claim.
Pain Goes Beyond The Pump Gas Fees Added in Several
Industries Two dollars for pizza delivery. An extra $1.70 to ship
a $20 package.
Backs Sanctions on Iran, Freezes Bank Assets Travel
Ban Is Imposed For Some in Government The European Union approved
new sanctions against Iran on Monday, including a freeze on the assets
of its largest bank, in a continuing effort to force Tehran to curtail
its nuclear development programs and fully cooperate with international
More call for limits on oil speculation Lawmakers continue
to blame large investors for their role in propping up oil prices, pointing
out Monday that speculation in crude futures has nearly doubled since
Moines Register (Iowa)
with, not at
Jay Leno: “Thanks for coming out on such a hot
day. … It was so hot, Barack Obama met with Al Gore just for the
Jay Leno: “Yesterday, a bunch of these Bear Stearns
hedge funds guys were arrested for shady business practices. Talk about
turning lemons into lemonade, today Bear Stearns…announced they’re
opening a new division specializing in bail bonds.”
Jay Leno: “The government says they’re
focusing on some e-mails that show these guys may have given bad investment
advice. For example, a lot of the e-mails began, ‘I’m a diplomat
currently living in exile in Nigeria.’”
Jay Leno: “President Bush and Senator John McCain
were both touring the flood-damaged areas of Iowa this week, but they
did not cross each other’s path. McCain said he didn’t want
to join up with Bush because that might send the wrong message. You know,
nothing turns voters off more than people getting together for a noble
Jay Leno: “Well, listen to this. According to
a Pentagon report this week, more than 1,000 nuclear missile components
in the US arsenal are lost and cannot be located. Huh? We can’t
even find our own weapons of mass destruction.”
Jay Leno: “In their defense,” the “Air
Force said today there is a big difference between something being missing
and just not being able to find it, which would be okay if you’re
talking about a pair of lost sunglasses!
Jay Leno: “Today, Ralph Nader attacked Barack
Obama for refusing to accept public financing for his campaign and said
that Obama was too closely tied to big business. … Yeah, then the
guy sitting next to Nader on the park bench said, ‘Shut up!’”
David Letterman: “President Bush has ordered…his
troops now to find Osama bin Laden. Yep. Boy, he really jumped on that
one, didn’t he?”
Conan O’Brien: “Last night, President Bush
held a celebration at the White House honoring jazz. … Yeah. It
was an awkward moment when Bush said, ‘This is great. It’s
just like being in an elevator.’”