Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average closed down 232.57 points, or 2.7 percent, to 8,493.77.
- The dollar weakened to 95.59 yen from 96.37.
Monday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 51.29, or 0.6 percent, to 8,025.00. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 14.88, or 0.9 percent, to 1,679.41.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield dipped to 2.91 percent from 3.00 percent late Friday.
- The dollar was at 96.80 yen from 97.13 yen, while the euro was at $1.3032 from $1.3243 late Friday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures closed 4 to 6 cents lower, which was nearer session highs and above opening levels.
- Soybeans: Futures posted a highly volatile day of trade, remaining in negative territory through the day.
- Wheat: Futures saw two-sided trade, but only briefly traded in positive territory.
- Cotton: Futures opened weaker, but recovered into the close to finish firmer in most contracts.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures gapped sharply to limit lower on the open, with nearbys ending limit lower.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures opened weaker, briefly turned firmer, but then weakened into the 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)
- Pandemic Risk Grows as New Cases Pop Up World Health Organization Raises Global Alert Level; Tally Rises at New York School After Further Testing The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doubled its number of confirmed U.S. cases Monday to 40 people, who ranged in age from 7 years old to 54. State and local health agencies reported an additional eight confirmed cases for a total of 48. The WHO did not call for any travel restrictions as a result of the situation.
Lean Hog Prices Fall by CME's Daily Limit
Asian Nations Move Quickly to Check Virus
Travel, Tourism Vulnerable to Virus Fears
European Drug Companies Prepare to Respond
Mexico Closes Schools as Virus Spreads Widely
Europe Hit by Cases as Officials Prepare
Seeking Lessons From the Past to Fight Flu
Swine Flu Remedies Editorial
How Bush Prepared for the Outbreak Opinion item.
Understanding Swine Flu Opinion item.
- GM Offers U.S. a Majority Stake Bondholders Balk at Plan; UAW Poised to Get Big Stakes in General Motors, Chrysler GM is asking the Treasury Department for an additional $11.6 billion in loans, on top of the $15.4 billion it has already received. It envisions giving the government at least half ownership of the company as payment for half of the loans. GM told bondholders it wants to swap up to $27 billion in unsecured debt for a 10% company stake. GM also said it would use stock to pay off half the $20.4 billion it owes a United Auto Workers fund to cover retiree health care.
UAW to Get 55% Stake in Chrysler for Concessions
Plan Sees a Smaller, Focused -- and Profitable -- GM
GM Dealers Await Word on Deeper Cuts
Control Would Create Conflicts for Government
- Foreign Businesses Say China Is Growing More Protectionist There are actually "buy China" provisions relative to that country's stimulus efforts and China is not part of the WTO's Agreement on Government Procurement which bars discrimination against foreign companies bidding on government projects. And a chunk of the stimulus money is also being spent in China in industries where no foreign competition is allowed. Others note there are provisions in Chinese law that even discriminate within areas of the country.
China Flexes Global Merger Clout, Imposes Conditions on Lucite Deal
- Fed Pushes Citi, BofA to Increase Capital Both Citigroup and Bank of America are being urged to boost their capital by the government in the wake of the initial stages of the government's review of the 19 largest banking companies.
- More Homes in California Are Selling The item details results of a trade group report which said sales of existing single-family homes increasing 64% from the prior-year period and median home prices rising month-to-month for the first time since August 2007.
- China's Agricultural Bank Posts Brisk Profit Agricultural Bank of China Ltd. said its 2008 net profit rose 18%, boosted by a 23% rise in net interest income to 193.9 billion yuan.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Obama Acts to Ease Flu Fears; U.S. Says It Is Prepared President Obama sought to ease concern over swine flu in the U.S. with remarks on Monday which were aimed at finding a delicate balance between being concerned but not alarmist. While experts praised the Obama administration's initial response, many warned that a more extensive outbreak of swine flu could tax the nation's public health capabilities.
WHO Issues Higher Alert on Swine Flu, With Advice
Teenagers From Queens in Swine Flu Spotlight
The New Swine Flu Editorial
- G.M.'s Latest Plan Envisions a Much Smaller Automaker The latest effort announced by GM would eliminate another 21,000 factory jobs, close 13 plants, cut its vast network of 6,500 dealers almost in half and shutter its Pontiac division. According to the item, G.M. expects to have only 38,000 union workers and 34 factories left in the United States, compared with 395,000 workers in more than 150 plants at its peak employment in 1970. But the automaker may also have troubles winning over its bondholders on any deal with the government, and G.M. said it would have to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection unless 90% of those bondholders accepted the terms by June 1.
||Monitoring the countryside
Wichita Eagle (Kansas)
- 'Pig flu' virus stumps experts So far, there appear to be more questions than answers relative to the swine flu situation, according to the report, although they stress there is no evidence that those humans with the disease were in contact with hogs.
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Heavy rains raise concerns about waterways, planting Weekend rains were 3" statewide with some areas receiving upwards of 7 inches. This came after a dry period which allowed nearly half of the state's corn to get in the ground. The concern also for growers is on new waterways put in or reworked after last year's historic flooding.
- Pork industry takes hit from fears of swine flu. State Veterinarian David Schmitt said Monday that no pigs are imported into Iowa from Mexico, where the earliest cases of swine flu were reported in humans. He also said there is no evidence the hybrid strain of swine flu has been noted in Iowa. Schmitt said that in 2008 about 4 million pigs were brought into Iowa from Canada and animals also are shipped into Iowa from other U.S. states for feeding. "All pigs coming into Iowa must bear a certificate of veterinary inspection, which verifies that they are free of disease," Schmitt said.
Denver Post (Colorado)
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
David Letterman: "Exxon Mobil atop the Fortune 500 list with a profit last year" of "$45 billion. ... Second place, the company that makes those foreclosure signs."
Jimmy Fallon: "Let's talk about some crazy stuff in the news today. Washington, D.C., the Capitol building was evacuated and the White House was locked down when a small plane flew into restricted air space. Say what you want, but Dick Cheney would have shot that thing down. 'I want to shoot that plane in the face.'"