Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average jumped 408.33 points, or 4.6 percent, to 9,385.70 -- nearing a 6-month high in its first day of trading of the week.
- The dollar was at 98.95 yen from 98.62 yen.
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 101.63, or 1.2 percent, to 8,512.28 -- its first close over 8,500 since Jan. 9 and now down 3 percent for the year. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 4.98, or 0.3 percent, to 1,759.10.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield was nearly unchanged at 3.16 percent versus 3.17 percent late Tuesday.
- The dollar was at was at 98.26 yen from 98.97 yen late Tuesday, while the euro was at $1.3332 from $1.3325.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures closed 1 to 2 cents higher. That was in the upper end of the day's range, but off session highs.
- Soybeans: Futures closed mostly 15 to 18 cents higher, which was on or near session highs.
- Wheat: Futures closed 5 to 6 cents higher in Chicago, mostly around a nickel higher in Kansas City and mostly 1 to 3 cents higher in Minneapolis. Chicago and Kansas City wheat closed in the upper end of the day's range, while Minneapolis wheat posted a mid-range close.
- Cotton: Futures closed narrowly mixed following a quiet day of trade.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures finished sharply higher to near limit up in the soon-to-expire May contract.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed higher in all but the June contract, which finished 25 cents lower.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Banks Need at Least $65 Billion in Capital The Federal Reserve says at least seven of the nation's biggest banks to bolster their capital levels by $65 billion while saying that six others are financial stable. Bank of America alone is being told to bolster its reserves by $35 billion. Markets appear mostly to be taking the news in stride as some think it wasn't as bad as it could have been and others think banks may be able to raise the capital they need without tapping additional government funds.
New Preferred Shares to Bolster Balance Sheets
What the Stress Tests Will Tell Us About Banks' Health
- U.S. Drops Tariffs on Roquefort A deal in principle in the long-running beef hormone dispute means that some EU products won't get targeted with duties, but the item correctly points out the agreement doesn't settle the central issue -- the split between the U.S. and EU on the question of whether the use of growth hormones for beef production is safe.
- Budget Proposes Cuts in 121 Programs Compared with the total $3.6 trillion spending plan for 2010, the proposed trims amount to one-half of 1%. Half the cuts would come from defense. The item notes this as well: "White House officials acknowledged the similarity between Mr. Obama's 121 program cuts and consolidations and $17 billion savings and Mr. Bush's 151 programs and $18 billion savings proposed for 2009. About 40% of the programs Mr. Obama has targeted for elimination or consolidation come directly off a similar list proposed by Mr. Bush over the past two budget seasons on Capitol Hill. Congress largely ignored those proposed cuts."
- Flu Lockdown Spurs Quarantine Debate The use of quarantine in Hong Kong and other places relative to the H1N1 flu situation is causing considerable debate on whether such actions really provided protection from the virus spreading.
Public Safety v. Civil Liberties: Health Crisis Leads to New Case
Decision on Flu Vaccine Looms
- Reconciling Mr. Conrad What's the price tag on the senator's 'deficit reduction'? Editorial. The paper's editorial is in part in response to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad's (D-N.D.) letter to the paper saying that reconciliation shouldn't be abused.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Some Big Banks Are Seen in Need of More Capital Results of the stress tests to be released today indicate some banks still need more funds, but it doesn't suggest they'll get the money from the government. Also, the article concludes that most feel the times of big bailouts may be over as it appears there is enough stimulus/bailout money currently available.
- Officials Note Youth of Serious Flu Cases While only 35 people have been hospitalized with confirmed swine flu infections, the CDC notes that the median age of those patients is 15. Also, CDC experts noted that of the 35 Americans hospitalized, 7 were known to have other health problems.
Debating the Wisdom of ‘Swine Flu Parties'
- Lines Shift a Bit on a Senate Labor Bill Card-check provisions in the labor bill are continuing to be a sticking point in the measure moving forward, but there are some signs of compromise at hand.
||Monitoring the countryside
Wichita Eagle (Kansas)
- Wheat crop forecast comes today The Wheat Quality Council's HRW wheat tour wraps up today with its forecast of the Kansas wheat crop which has seen drought and freeze conditions affect it this year.
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "The White House announced today that Vice President Joe Biden has laryngitis. They...said that he has a rare strain they hope lasts until 2012."
Jay Leno: President Obama has "promised to 'detect and pursue' American tax evaders, as opposed to his first 100 days, in which he detected and nominated American tax evaders."
David Letterman: President Obama "accidentally referred to Cinco de Mayo as 'Cinco de Quatro.' He apologized and said he only knows about 15 words of Spanish. Big deal." George W. Bush "only knew about 15 words of English."
Jimmy Fallon: "It's a big day here in New York City" because "Michelle Obama's in town. ... She's going all over the city." And when baseball player Alex Rodriguez "saw her, he asked, 'What are you putting in those biceps?'"