Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average rose 371.03 points, or 5.2 percent, to 7,569.28.
- The dollar was at 98.28 yen from 97.52 yen.
Thursday U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 239.66, or 3.5 percent, to 7,170.06 -- now up 9.5 percent over the past three days. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 54.46, or 4 percent, to 1,426.10.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield was down to 2.86 percent from 2.91 percent late Wednesday.
- The dollar was at 97.62 from 97.19 yen while the euro was at $1.29274 from $1.2848 late Wednesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures enjoyed gains through the day, but extended gains into the close to finish around 20 cents higher.
- Soybeans: Futures closed 20 to 24 cents higher, which was near session highs amid late-session buying.
- Wheat: Futures extended gains into the close, with Chicago wheat closing 16 to 17 cents higher, while Minneapolis and Kansas City posted gains in the teens as well.
- Cotton: Futures extended gains into the close to finish moderately to sharply higher.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures saw buy stops triggered to extend early gains, with futures finishing near session highs.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures favored gains through the day thanks to supportive outside markets and short-covering.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Americans See 18% of Wealth Vanish The Fed said Thursday that U.S. households' net worth tumbled by $11 trillion -- a decline in a single year that equals the combined annual output of Germany, Japan and the U.K. The decline in net worth was the first time in six years. Mortgages and credit-card debt alone totaled $13 trillion, or 123% of after-tax income. In 1995, for instance, it was 83% of income.
Consumers' Spending Appears to Be Stabilizing
- Grain Costs Down, Groceries Not Farmers to Cut Back on Planting Amid Market Weakness, Pressuring Consumer Prices Fewer acres are expected to be planted to corn and cotton in particular for 2009, a development which some say reflects the current economic downturn catching up with the farm sector.
- Wen Voices Concern Over China's U.S. Treasuries. China's Premier said he was "concerned" about the "safety" their investment in U.S. securities, and he called on the U.S. to "maintain its credibility, honor its commitments and guarantee the safety of Chinese assets." Wen repeated China's position that those investments are managed with a view to "safety, liquidity and profitability" -- in that order. He also said China wouldn't hesitate to do more stimulus spending if it was needed.
- Obama Makes Overtures for Cooperation of CEOs President Obama sounded more conciliatory than alarmist when he addressed business leaders this week.
- Risks Lurk in Obama's Poll Ratings New WSJ/NBC News poll data shows President Obama with a 61% approval rating, about normal for a new president. But the data also holds some potentially worrisome signs in that more people like Obama than his policies. And they note in rural areas, 44% say they are confident in his goals and plans; 46% of independents say so. The item acknowledges that these two cateogories of folks are those most likely to drift away from Obama anyway over time.
Obama's Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth Opinion item.
- Smithfield Swings to a Loss on Hog-Production Woes. While expecting the current quarter to be another difficult period with "continued substantial losses" in hog production, the head of Smithfield expressed some optimism about the prospects for the company ahead due to expectations of lower feed prices.
New York Times (registration to site required)
||Monitoring the countryside
Fargo Forum (North Dakota)
- McFeely: $500,000 isn't a lot of money in farming Editorial. The writer argues that the Obama plan to cut off direct payments to farmers with sales of over $500,000 really doesn't target big farms but family farms. His conclusion: "it's time to educate the new president that Ma and Pa Kettle died decades ago."
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Budget makes hard choices but maintains farm safety net In the op-ed item, Vilsack appears to back further away from the proposal to deny farmers direct payments if they have over $500,000 in sales. He simply calls that "improved targeting of direct payments to those who really need support."
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "Hey, did you see this on the news? I thought this was nice. Over the weekend in Washington, DC, First Lady Michelle Obama was at a homeless shelter serving food to the homeless. ... Wasn't that nice? Reaching out to the middle class. I thought that was fantastic."
Jay Leno: "President Obama today came out against human cloning," but "I think he might be a little hasty here" because "there should be exceptions. For example, let's say Obama can find a nominee who has paid his taxes. Clone that guy."
Jimmy Fallon: "Republicans are attacking Barack Obama because he now wants to negotiate directly with the Taliban. Obama responded, 'Hey, right now I'd rather deal with the Taliban than with Republicans.'"