Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- closed for holiday through Wednesday.
Monday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 214.33, or 2.6 percent, to 8,426.74 -- but still down 4 percent for the year. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 44.36, or 2.6 percent, to 1,763.56 -- up 11.8 percent in 2009.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield slipped to 3.16 percent from 3.17 percent late Friday.
- The dollar was at was at 98.93 yen from 99.28, while the euro was at $1.3402 from $1.3264 late Friday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures finished mostly 6 to 8 cents lower.
- Soybeans: Futures ended mixed with active bull spreading dominating action in the market on the close.
- Wheat: Futures closed 18 to 19 cents lower in Chicago and mostly 15 to 18 cents lower in Kansas City and Minneapolis.
- Cotton: Futures closed narrowly mixed and finished in the middle to upper end of the day's range.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures posted sharp to moderate losses in most contracts and finished near session lows.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures finished mixed following a relatively lackluster session.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- White House to Step Up Ethanol Efforts Today's announcement by USDA, EPA and the Dept. of Energy on the Renewable Fuels Standard -2 is to focus on creation of an interagency group that will be charged with forging a plan to encourage the production of more automobiles that can run on high-level ethanol blends, and increase the availability of high-level ethanol blends at gasoline stations. But the announcement today is also expected to include the concept of in-direct land use relative to biofuels production and that's a topic of considerable debate in ag circles.
- Tyson's Loss Deepens. The company reported a wider loss despite saying its chicken business returned to profitability and the hedge losses it suffered on commodities are mostly behind it. Now they cite a downturn in consumer demand and weak export markets as the culprit.
- More Banks Will Need Capital Stress Tests Identify About Ten; Wells, BofA, Citigroup Face Order to Refill Coffers Initial expectations were that some 14 of the 19 banks may need additional funds but the item says that number has declined in recent days. Still, some that need help could be surprising as it could include Wells Fargo. Now 10 of the 19 banks reviewed will be urged to raised their level of capital. Administration officials believe many banks will be able to raise capital without tapping the Troubled Asset Relief Program's remaining $109.6 billion.
Fewer Banks Are Tightening Their Lending Standards
No Sale: Bank Wrecks New Houses
Encouraging Signs Seen in Housing, Construction
- Budget Targets Fraud and Errors in Social Programs Social Security and Labor Department Would Get New Funding to Review Disability and Jobless-Insurance Claims The effort will focus on putting review "officers" in place at various agencies to assure money is being spent as it should be. The item says the White House will request $13.7 billion for stepped-up oversight in the next five years, which the White House estimates will save the government a net $35 billion, through added tax collection and lower benefit payments.
- Egypt's Christian Farmers Protest Cull Egyptian hog farmers are now trying to boost the compensation they'll receive from the government for the hog eradication effort. The government says it will pay 100 Egyptian pounds, or $14, for each male pig slaughtered and 250 Egyptian pounds, or $35, for each pregnant sow -- less than half the market price for pigs, farmers say.
- Foreclosure Trouble Spreads to Those Who Bet the Farm . The item notes that while rural areas haven't seen the magnitude of the downturn in the housing sector that more urban areas have, the level of foreclosures in rural locations has gone up.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Where Home Prices Crashed Early, Signs of a Rebound Some of the hardest-hit areas in terms of home-price declines are showing signs of stabilizing with properties actually changing hands at a faster pace than year-ago. Monday data showed that pending home sales actually rose instead of falling.
More Middle-Class New Yorkers Face Eviction
- Even as Fears of Flu Ebb, Mexicans Feel Stigma Even as flu fears start to wane, Mexicans say they still are feeling some lingering impacts such as limits on travel. China's actions in particular have angered Mexico as they have seemingly targeted Mexicans visiting China for quarantine, testing, etc.
Health Officials Begin to Ease Public Alerts About Swine Flu
Swine Flu Provides a Test of Employers' Crisis Plans
- GOP Résumé, Cabinet Post, Knack for Odd Jobs The item profiles former Rep. Ray LaHood (R-Ill.) who is Transportation Secretary who chalks up his landing in that role to the "the bipartisan thing, and the Congressional thing, and the friendship thing."
- GOP Picks Conservative for Senate Judiciary Post Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) struck an agreement to assume the top Republican position on the Judiciary Committee for the remainder of the 111th Congress. However, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is likely to assume that post in the next Congress.
- Obama Calls for Curbs on Offshore Tax Havens . President Obama announced his intention to close tax loopholes that allow corporations to shield income overseas and avoid U.S. taxes.
Obama Plan Leaves One Path to Lower Taxes Wide Open
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: Mexico "won't let people come to see the soccer games. They're going to play them but the stands will be empty." It will be "just like soccer here in the United States."
David Letterman: "Anybody see President Barack Obama's press conference last night? ... During the press conference, three more Republicans defected." David Letterman: Arlen Specter has "left the Republican Party," which is "like resigning from Chrysler."
Craig Ferguson: "Chrysler is going to have to declare bankruptcy! There's still hope that they can merge with Italian carmaker Fiat. Chrysler and Fiat? That will be awesome. Crappy cars in two languages."
Jimmy Kimmel: "More than 300 schools in 14 states are closed now, 200 in Texas alone. The swine flu is like a new snow day."
Jimmy Kimmel: "The government" does not "want us to call it the swine flu. They're calling it the 2009 H1N1 virus. The reason for the change is they want people to know you can still eat all the pork you want without any risk to your health, except diabetes, obesity and heart disease."