Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed up 112.39 points, or 1.3 percent, at 8,859.56. For 2008, the Nikkei was down 42.1 percent -- its worst annual performance ever.
- The dollar was at 90.20 Japanese yen, down from 90.33.
Monday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 31.62, or 0.37 percent, to 8,483.93. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 19.92, or 1.30 percent, to 1,510.32.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.10 percent from 2.14 percent late Friday.
- The dollar was at was at 90.61 yen from 90.66 yen, while the euro was at $1.3971 from $1.4060 late Friday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Futures closed 17 to 18 cents lower, which was in the lower end of today's range.
- Soybeans: Futures closed 8 to 13 cents lower in old-crop contracts, while new-crop futures were mostly 3 to 5 cents lower.
- Wheat: Futures closed lower at all three exchanges today. Chicago wheat was mostly 6 to 8 cents lower, Kansas City wheat 4 to 5 cents lower and Minneapolis wheat 5 to 8 cents lower.
- Cotton: Futures settled slightly lower in all but the March contract, which was 7 points higher.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures were mixed for much of the session, but closed firmer in most contracts.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures ended with slight to moderate gains, while feeder cattle posted strong gains in most contracts.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Bumpy Crop: Farming's Sudden Feasts and Famines As Grain Prices Rise and Fall and Perhaps Rise Again, Growers Struggle to Navigate a New Age of Volatility and High Costs The item looks at how farmers are coping with commodity prices that have come well off their highs. One farmer, Iowan Ben Riensche, says his costs this year are $5 per bu. for corn and $11 per bu. for soybeans, while prices on the futures market are offering $4 and $9.
- Two Families' Shifting Fortunes The item contrasts the situation facing two families -- one in China and one in Ethiopia.
- GMAC to Get $6 Billion Aid Deal The Treasury Department said Monday it had set up a separate program within the Troubled Asset Relief Program to make investments directed at the auto industry. GMAC is in line to get $6 billion from this newly established program. Treasury purchased $5 billion in senior preferred equity in GMAC and offered a new $1 billion loan to GM. This is beyond the $17.4 billion that has already been pledged to the auto industry.
- Republicans Warn Against Overspending on Stimulus Wary of Appearing to Stifle Recovery, Party Leaders Attempt a Balancing Act. Republicans are trying to find the right balance between trying to prevent excessive spending but not appearing to be an obstacle to fixing the U.S. economy via a stimulus plan.
- Internet Providers Move to Shape Broadband Push. The battle is already brewing over the issuing of providing more broadband Internet access in the country, including in rural areas. But the debate is on things like the definition of broadband speed and whether the effort should focus on boosting existing networks or building new ones where there aren't any.
- More Melamine Trials Begin For 9 Suspects. Trials for 15 accused of tainting milk with the chemical melamine have begun in China. Some could face the death penalty for their actions.
- FDA Is on Animal Antibiotic Case. Letter to the editor. The writer, Dr. Bernadette Dunham with the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the Food and Drug Administration, counters an editorial in the paper which said FDA has backtracked on excessive antibiotic use in animals.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- 'All-Out War' Declared on Hamas Israel Expands List of Targets to Include Group's Vast Support Network in Gaza Israel continued its ariel assault of Gaza while Palestinians fired rockets deeper into Israel. Indications are the attacks by Israel are much broader than have been used before.
- GOP Leaders Oppose Haste On Stimulus Extensive Vetting of Proposal Sought Republican leaders said Monday they want more details about the economic stimulus package being worked on, saying taxpayers deserve more information and detail about the plan which Democrats are hoping to have on President-elect Obama's desk shortly after he takes office.
- GMAC To Get $6 Billion Lifeline Financing for Dealers, Customers Was at Risk GMAC will be subject to additional regulation, and it must cut some of its extensive ties to GM in exchange for the $5 billion infusion from the government.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: "I have a five-year-old son...and I'm a little nervous because I think he was disappointed for Christmas morning. Yup, because after he opened his gifts, he started throwing shoes at me."