Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed up 321.14 points, or 4.6 percent, to 7,376.12.
- The dollar was at 98.54 yen from 98.80 yen late Tuesday.
Tuesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average 379.44 points, or 5.8 percent, to 6,926.49, its biggest one-day gain this year and biggest since Nov. 21. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 89.64 points, or 7.07 percent, to 1,358.28.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.980 percent from 2.885 percent Monday.
- The dollar was at 98.72 yen from 98.85 yen late Monday, while the euro rose to $1.2675 from $1.2607.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures remained in positive territory through the day, closing mostly around a dime higher, which was near session lows.
- Soybeans: Futures posted double-digit gains, but finished in the middle of the day's trading range.
- Wheat: Futures finished the day solidly higher at all three exchanges, but off session highs.
- Cotton: Futures finished around 60 points higher, which was a mid-range close.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures finished under heavy pressure as losses were extended into the close.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures traded firmer all morning, but saw profit-taking after midday to result in a mixed close.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Bernanke Calls for Broader Regulations Fed Chairman Bernanke said that stricter regulations are needed, including capital requirements for big banks, limits on investments by money-market mutual funds, and the introduction of some mechanism that would allow the U.S. to wind down big financial institutions and possibly run them temporarily. Treasury Sec. Geithner also addressed some of the shifts the administration will push which will focus on accountability and stronger oversight.
- U.S., U.K. Plan Trade Package for G-20 . The U.S. and UK are poised to unveil a package of trade financing seeking to stem the steepest downturn in global trade since the Great Depression. However, it's not clear how much of the details of the plan will be ready by the early April G-20 summit where the effort is expected to be launched.
- The Fed Didn't Cause the Housing Bubble Any new regulations should help direct savings toward productive investments.. Opinion item by former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan. The former Fed chief says the Fed wasn't to blame for the housing problem but rather low mortgage rates. And, he says mortgage rates became disconnected from the Fed Funds rate. He says regulations should be crafted carefully so as to steer savings toward capital investments.
- Local Economies Seek Own Revival Some cities and counties and even states are trying their own stimulus efforts to keep their economies afloat, including paying consumers to shop, creating jobs, and some states are using surplus funds or planning large bond sales to undertake efforts to try and jumpstart their own economies.
- Fed Considers Its Next Actions Amid Unrelenting Strains, Options Include Purchasing Treasurys, Fannie-Freddie Debt It remains unclear whether the Fed will embark on any new efforts at its March 17-18 FOMC meeting. While it has done certain things, it still has not yet gone down the path of purchasing long-term government securities or boosting purchases of debt issued or guaranteed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
- Brazil's da Silva Warns Against Protectionism . Brazil's president warned that developing countries will be hurt if rich nations pursue protectionist measures. He criticized the buy American provision in the stimulus package even though it was modified some and said he would push for approval of the U.S.-Colombia free trade deal even if it meant his country's trade could suffer.
- Pacific Energy Seeks Protection From Creditors . The energy company has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, citing the precipitous drop in oil prices in the fourth quarter of last year.
- Shell to Raise Investment in Biofuel Firm Codexis . Shell said it is boosting its investment in the company. It initial held a 13% stake in the firm based on a $33 million investment and officials said the infusion this time is similar in size.
- Consumers Still Shun Peanut Butter Sales of peanut butter in the four week period ending Feb. 21 were the lowest in 3 years in the wake of the salmonella scare involving peanut products even though jarred peanut butter was largely immune from the situation.
- Madoff Set to Plead Guilty to 11 Felonies. Madoff is expected to enter the guilty pleas in the scheme which ran for years and defrauded investors of billions of dollars.
Prosecutors Keep Hunting for Aiders and Abettors
Investors Were Told They Had a Total of $64.8 Billion
New York Times (registration to site required)
- EPA Proposes Tracking Industry Emissions. The agency published a rule which would require about 13,000 factories, power plants and other facilities to report their emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and other gases that climate scientists link to global warming.
- Some Banks, Citing Strings, Want to Return Aid Some banks are now wanting to return money to the U.S. Treasury as they view the restrictions and requirements that go with taking the aid as being too onerous. However, they are awaiting rules from the government on how to refund such money.
- Old Clinton Hands Line Up Behind Gillibrand New York's newest senator has attracted many of those who were linked with Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), giving her somewhat of an advantage when it comes to reelection in 2010 and according to the article, 2012.
New Idea on Capitol Hill: To Join Senate, Get Votes
- Senate Clears Spending After Fractious Debate. The spending plan now heads to President Obama's desk after voting 62 to 35 to close debate, with 8 Republicans joining Democrats to usher the bill to passage.
- EPA Plans U.S. Registry of Greenhouse Gas Emissions If adopted by the end of the year, the rule could produce greenhouse gas statistics by the end of 2010. The EPA requirements would apply to large industrial sources that emit 25,000 metric tons or more a year, including oil and chemical refineries; cement, glass, pulp and paper plants; manufacturers of motor vehicles and engines; and confined animal-feeding operations.
- Bernanke's Vision for Change Fed Chief Calls for More Financial Oversight, Overhaul of Rules The Fed chief called for the system to be revamped so that a repeat of the current financial crisis doesn't unfold in the future.
- Congress May Need to Fund Another Stimulus, Pelosi Says House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it's possible Congress may need to approve yet another economic stimulus plan, but the White House wouldn't comment on whether another boost would be needed.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: "As you know now, Rush Limbaugh is the new face of the Republican Party,” but "they'll probably go with a different body.”
David Letterman: "You guys know anything about this weasel, this rodent, Bernie Madoff? He "decided what he would do would be to swindle his friends. And so he did a pretty good job. He got them for…$50 billion,” and "now his lovely wife” Ruth "was able to get 69 million. And she wants to keep that.” She and her husband "say it's not fraud money, it's money they saved on gas by fully inflating their tires.”
David Letterman: "Here's a cute story. You know the Obama kids? They got a swing set there on the White House lawn. And here's the nice thing. This is what you like about Obama.” He is a "very conscientious guy. Thinks of everything,” because the swing set "didn't cost the taxpayers anything. They built the swing set out of old pieces of Dick Cheney's guard tower.”
Craig Ferguson: "According to a new study, people are sleeping less because they're worried about the economy. I think also it might have something to do with the fact they're sleeping under bridges.”
Jimmy Fallon: "Barack Obama bought a brand new swing set for his daughters, Malia and Sasha. It has a slide and a rope ladder. It's great. It's much nicer than the one George Bush used.”