Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropped 306.49 points, or 3.8%, to 7,745.25.
- The dollar was at 88.36 yen in late Tokyo trade, compared with 88.78 yen late in New York.
Thursday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 105.30, or 1.28 percent, to 8,122.80. The Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 41.58, or 2.76 percent, to 1,465.49.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.60 percent from 2.55 percent late Wednesday.
- The dollar was at 88.71 yen from 89.44 yen, while the euro fell to $1.3005 from $1.3018 late Wednesday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures were firmer in overnight trade amid short-covering, but opened lower and extended losses. Futures trimmed losses into the close, finishing mostly around 2 cents lower.
- Soybeans: Futures were expected to open firmer on spillover from overnight gains, but opened weaker and quickly extended losses. Nearbys closed 8 to 9 cents lower, with deferreds down between 11 and 17 cents.
- Wheat: Futures opened lower on spillover from neighboring pits and finished mostly mid-range. Chicago wheat closed mostly 4 to 5 cents lower.
- Cotton: Futures extended gains into the close to finish sharply higher.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures were mixed much of the day amid bull spreading and that's exactly how the market closed. Futures finished 32 cents higher to 47 cents lower.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures saw a highly choppy day of trade, but recovered from early losses to close 7 to 45 cents higher in all but the February contract, which closed 7 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)
- Thain Ousted in Clash at Bank of America Surprise Losses at Merrill Unit Led to Former Chief's Fall; Pressure Is Seen Mounting on CEO Lewis Over Soured Deals The departure of Thain has raised questions about the ability of CEO Lewis to remain in that role at Bank of America. Though some discount the possibility that his tenure could be limited.
'Mr. Fix-It' Failed to Take Measure of Mess
At Merrill, Focus Returns to Survival
- Pressure Grows for More Rescue Funds Indications are that the second installment of $350 billion via the TARP program won't be enough and lawmakers are pressing the Obama administration to seek more money. They're signaling such a request could be attached to the economic stimulus plan or some other piece of legislation.
Firms Keep Lobbying as They Get TARP Cash
- Fed Likely to Keep Focus on Rates, Loans The the Fed having interest rates already set at near 0%, their focus as the Federal Open Market Committee meets next week is expected to be on new lending and asset-purchase programs the Fed has introduced.
- Obama Must Reach Far to the Right to Find GOP Allies The item notes that President Obama has already reached out to his friend in the Senate, Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) one of the most conservative members of that chamber.
- China's Slowdown Sends Out Aftershocks Major Asian Trading Partners Feel a Crunch as the Nation Struggles to Stimulate Consumption. China, Japan and Korea are all struggling and that is having a spillover effect on other countries in the region. And efforts to spur domestic consumption aren't producing the results hoped for.
U.S. Stance on the Yuan Gets Tougher
- Microsoft to Cut Up to 5,000 Jobs Software Maker's Quarterly Profit Falls 11% Amid Weakening Demand. The venerable company reported a surprising loss and said it would cut some 5,000 jobs. The word has pressured tech stocks.
- Railroads Run on Higher Prices Profits Rise but Industry Leaders Note Alarming Drop in Freight Volume Railroads are reporting stronger profits despite a downturn in freight volumes as they utilized price increases to help with the situation.
- Banks Die Too Fast for the Regulators Of the 25 banks that failed in 2008, nine toppled before regulators publicly cracked down, including IndyMac Bank and the banking operations of Washington Mutual Inc., two of the biggest seizures in U.S. history. Two banks failed after being under an enforcement action for only two or three days.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Geithner Hints at Harder Line on China Trade The Treasury nominee told lawmakers President Obama believes China is indeed manipulating its currency which sets up the potential for a more combative approach on this issue compared to the tack taken by the Bush administration the past eight years.
- Death Sentences in Chinese Milk Case Lengthy prison terms and even the death sentence have been handed down as verdicts in China's tainted milk scandal situation.
- Appointing Emissaries, Obama and Clinton Stress Diplomacy. The item looks at the selection of George J. Mitchell as special envoy for Arab-Israeli affairs, and Richard C. Holbrooke as special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.
- Environmental Issues Slide in Poll of Public's Concerns. A new poll shows that Americans aren't as concerned about environmental issues as they were a year ago, but they remain focused on how to address the nation's energy situation.
- Senate Undertakes Bipartisan Ways Indications are there is a more bipartisan spirit in the Senate, and the report says that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is mulling even allowing Republicans to offer amendments on the floor, something that hasn't happened much the past two years.
- Stimulus Plan Meets More GOP Resistance Obama to Reiterate Appeal for Bipartisanship The plans on an economic stimulus package are showing some of the same old rifts that President Obama has called upon lawmakers to bridge as they work on the plan.
- Geithner Says China Manipulates Its Currency Comments Suggest Harder Line on Trade Treasury Sec. nominee Geithner said that the new administration basically views China as manipulating its currency, a stance that is far different from the Bush administration. But he also stressed the immediate focus needs to be on getting the U.S. and Chinese economies moving again.
- 2 Sentenced To Death in China Milk Scandal Death sentences are among those handed down in the scandal in China where milk was tainted with the chemical melamine.
- A Bleak First for Microsoft: Layoffs In Sign of Deeper Recession, Tech Giant to Cut 5,000 Jobs The software giant is laying off workers for the first time in its history.
||Monitoring the countryside
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Vilsack urges healthful eating Vilsack's remarks to employees focused on healthy eating and listening to those who receive services from USDA. He also warned that budget cutting efforts could start in once the economic stimulus plan is passed.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "Well, did you haul hear about this? Because of the flubbed oath of office the other day, Chief Justice John Roberts went over to the White House last night and gave Barack Obama the oath again." Some "legal scholars were concerned that the oath was not given properly, we legally did not have anybody at the helm for 36 hours. Thirty-six hours? We haven't had anybody at the helm for eight years."
Jay Leno: "And the Senate has confirmed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. That means Hillary will be fourth in line for the presidency. After vice president, speaker of the House, and president pro-tem of the Senate, she is next, which means they're going to need extra security to protect the vice president, speaker of the House, and" the president pro-tem of the Senate.
Craig Ferguson: "Today was Hillary Clinton's first day as secretary of state. She's now in charge of all foreign affairs. Bill Clinton will still handle domestic affairs."