Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average tumbled 240.58 points, or 3 percent, to 7,705.36 -- its lowest in nearly three months.
- The dollar was at .
Wednesday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 50.65, or 0.64 percent, to 7,939.53. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 5.77, or 0.38 percent, to 1,530.50.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield fell to 2.76 percent from 2.82 percent late Tuesday.
- The dollar was at 90.40 Japanese yen from 90.27 yen, while the euro was at $1.2894 from $1.2882 late Tuesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures closed 8 to 10 cents lower, which was on or near session lows amid late-session pressure.
- Soybeans: Futures closed 16 to 21 cents lower, finishing near session lows amid late-session selling.
- Wheat: Futures saw late-session selling to post double-digit losses and finish on or near session lows.
- Cotton: Futures saw spillover pressure from yesterday's losses, posting a low-range close and doing more technical chart damage.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures closed firmer in all but the April contract, which closed 2 cents lower.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures saw a choppy day of trade and saw late-session pressure to finish weaker and near session lows 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)
- Congress Strikes $789 Billion Stimulus Deal Historic Bill Would Spur Road Building, Give Businesses Tax Breaks, Expand Broadband Access; Final Passage Expected Soon About $282 billion of the bill, or 35%, is dedicated to tax cuts, split roughly evenly between incentives for businesses and individuals. Many tax breaks were scaled back to reduce the bill's cost, including an expanded Senate credit for home purchases and tax deductions for buying new cars.
More Money Woven Into Safety Net
Economy to Receive Less Support in Short Term
The Real Stimulus Burden Commentary item.
- Falling Gas May Be Gone as a Stimulus. Gasoline prices have risen in early 2009, now up some 19% compared to where they ended 2008. Gasoline is getting more expensive partly because production has fallen 5% in the past year, outpacing the decline in demand.
- Hints of Stability Emerge in Fragile Financial System. Some are noting while the news on the world economic front still isn't positive, some at least are arguing it's "less awful" than it has been. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke noted that a variety of credit indicators have improved in recent weeks, a sign that some of the Fed's rescue programs are working as planned.
- Farmers Face Empty-Nest Syndrome Amid Chicken Housing Crisis Poultry Growers Lose Contracts, Can't Pay Off Their Pricey Coops; $200,000 Per House The item looks at the impact to some of the growers who lost contracts with Pilgrim's Pride when the poultry firm went into bankruptcy. The firm cut contracts with 300 growers in Arkansas, Florida and North Carolina. They still hold contracts with over 5,000 growers.
- Peanut Corp. Emails Cast Harsh Light on Executive While top officials of the company refused to testify at a congressional hearing this week, the panel released copies of emails from the company's chief ordering product to be shipped despite the apparent presence of salmonella.
- Dairy-Food Sales Slow in U.S., Squeezing Danone. While the firm noted a downturn in sales volume to wrap up 2008, they also said increased prices for products prompted a 3.5% increase in revenue for their fresh-dairy division.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Ethanol, Just Recently a Savior, Is Struggling The item looks at the challenges facing the U.S. ethanol industry in the wake of declining gasoline consumption. Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association, a trade group, estimated that of the country's 150 ethanol companies and 180 plants, 10 or more companies have shut down 24 plants over the last three months. That has idled about 2 billion gallons out of 12.5 billion gallons of annual production capacity.
- Deal Reached in Congress on $789 Billion Stimulus Plan The bill could see final votes take place by Friday and put the legislation on track to reach President Obama's desk shortly thereafter. The final bill includes $507 billion in spending programs and $282 billion in tax relief, including a scaled-back version of Mr. Obama's middle-class tax cut proposal. It would now be $400 per person and $800 per couple, instead of the $500 and $1,000 marks initially sought. Some economists now say the package has been trimmed enough so that it may not carry the economic punch it was expected to have.
Obama's Battle on Stimulus Shows Threats to His Agenda
- Peanut Products Sent Out Before Tests . Peanut Corp. of America sent peanut products out of its plant before receiving test results on whether the shipments were potentially contaminated with salmonella. Officials of the company refused to testify in a congressional hearing Wednesday.
- Texas Ranchers and Farmers Struggle in Drought . Some three-quarters of the state is in drought, with state climate officials labeling the situation the worst drought since 1918.
- Lawmakers Question Bankers on Bailout. Heads of key financial firms that have already received government bailout funds were questioned by Congress this week on the use of those funds. But the hearings were not nearly as contentious as some thought -- or hoped -- they would be.
Bank Test May Expand U.S. Regulators' Role
- With Trade in Decline, U.S. Deficit Narrows. The United States trade deficit narrowed by 4 percent in December, falling for a third consecutive month.
Chinese Exports Plummet in January
||Monitoring the countryside
Fargo Forum (North Dakota)
- Corn growers' group advised to boost marketing skills Farmers need to be just as good at marketing their crops as growing them, a marketing specialist says Current conditions in the U.S. and global economy mean farmers need to concentrate even more on marketing their production.
Wichita Eagle (Kansas)
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Global biotech plantings rose by 9 percent last year Farmers in 25 countries around the globe now plant biotech crops, with acreage planted to those crops up 26 million compared to the prior year, according to a survey by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: 10. "I miss the Clinton administration when we'd meet at Hooters" 9. "Can we wrap this up? I've got tickets to the 4:30 'Paul Blart: Mall Cop" 8. "Smoke break!" 7. "You fellas really need to take it easy on the Old Spice" 6. "Mr. President: don't misunderestimate the Republicans" 5. "Another smoke break!" 4. "What was the deal with Aretha Franklin's hat?" 3. "About that tax the rich stuff -- you were joking, right?" 2. "Sir, it's refreshing to have a Chief Executive who speaks in complete sentences" 1. "Senator Craig's offering his stimulus package in the men's room"