Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average added 108.09 points, or 1.2 percent, to 8,857.93.
- The dollar was at 101.37 yen from 100.29 yen.
Friday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 39.51, or 0.5 percent, to 8,017.59 -- the index's highest close since Feb. 9 -- up 20.98 percent, the best four-week percentage gain since 1933. The AP notes the last time the Dow rose for four consecutive weeks was between September and October of 2007 — when the index reached its record above 14,000. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 19.24, or 1.2 percent, at 1,621.87 -- its largest four-week gain ever. For the week, Dow Jones industrial average rose 8.6 percent, while the Nasdaq composite index rose 5.0 percent. However, the Dow is still down 9 percent for the year and 43 percent from its record high.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.90 percent from 2.76 percent late Thursday.
- The dollar was at was at 100.27 yen, up from 99.54 yen on Thursday, while the euro was at $1.3488, up from $1.3443.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: May corn closed above the $4.00 level to do some slight chart improvement.
- Soybeans: Futures futures posted strong gains today, while new-crop contracts were slightly higher.
- Wheat: Futures finished with gains in the teens at all three exchanges.
- Cotton: Futures ended the week on a strong note with help from weakness in the dollar and relatively widespread commodity strength.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures finished sharply higher in all but the April contract which was "only" 60 cents higher.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures posted a very volatile week of trade.
||Other reports affecting agriculture
||Links to top news reports
with potential U.S. ag impact
Wall Street Journal (subscription to site required for access)
- Frugality Forged in Today's Recession Has Potential to Outlast It Some believe U.S. consumers will retain their frugal spending habits that have emerged during the recession and will take on less debt and save more in the decade ahead. Others counter that consumers talk optimistically now of keeping their plans changed, but may not when it comes down to it.
What the Past Teaches Us About Today
Brokers Fear Many Insurers Are Ignorant of Annuity Risks
- R&D Spending Holds Steady in Slump Big Companies Invest to Grab Sales in Recovery; the iPod Lesson Many firms, while cutting wages and employees, have not been trimming back their R&D spending, knowing that they'll need innovation to capture business when the recession ends.
- Beijing Exercises Its Global Leverage. China's showing at the recent G-20 summit shows they want to be recognized as a global player while still insisting they are a developing country. They also put on a push for trade and less protectionism, but the item notes the drive still failed to bring a commitment for resuming the Doha Round of WTO trade talks.
- Officials Prepare to Analyze Stress Tests Officials will meet this week to talk about how to analyze the financial stress tests of the 19 largest financial institutions in the country. Those discussions are expected to include how the changes in accounting rules may also affect how banks do in the "tests."
Rattner Rises as Obama's Mr. Fix-It
- Gazprom Likely to Cut Spending Russian Firm Reacts as Demand Slumps in Europe; Putin Offers State Aid. The downturn in natural gas demand is likely to prompt the Russian company to scale back its spending. It has also seen its market value decline.
- House Earmark Requests Risk Clash With Obama. House lawmakers have included thousands of earmarks in their requests for spending bills for Fiscal 2010. The 60 members of the House Appropriations Committee submitted more than 3,000 earmark requests in total. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.) previously said he received about 30,000 requests for earmarks for the fiscal year 2008 spending bills.
- Obama Team's Finances Released. Many White House staffers and officials have come into the administration from the private sector, some of them taking significant pay cuts to do so. While many of the cabinet officers have been in public service so they haven't seen their pay levels change significantly.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Some Revile Plan to Limit Short-Selling The Securities & Exchange Commission is poised this week to announce additional limits on short selling of stocks, including potential restrictions on short-selling only after a stock suffers a daily drop by a specified percentage. However, the coming announcement is unveiling a rift in the industry over whether such actions are positive or negative for the markets.
- Treasury Chief Says He's Open to Ousting Heads of Frail Banks. Treasury Sec. Geithner says he's not opposed to changing leadership at the helm of banks that request help from the government if that's what the situation calls for.
Obama's Top Auto Industry Troubleshooter
- In Cuba, Change Means More of the Same, With Control at the Top Recent actions signal Raul Castro is trying to consolidate power at the top as it takes control of the Cuban government. And some officials have been removed for what has been viewed as giving too much "hope" to western countries for changes in the island nation.
- Farm Workers' Rights, 70 Years Overdue Editorial. The paper calls efforts to try and give farm workers more rights are long overdue. Backers for change are counting on the changed political landscape as a catalyst for bringing about shifts for worker protections.
||Monitoring the countryside
Omaha World-Herald (Nebraska)
- Ag units nourish chemical firms Businesses that have ag-related components are seeing demand for those products help the rest of their businesses that may be struggling in the current economic climate.
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
- Small towns debate value of ethanol plants From Sunday's editions. While some small towns have welcomed the building and operation of ethanol plants, others have mixed views on whether the operations really have provided any economic boost -- particularly those that have closed operations down.
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: The Obamas "gave the Queen an iPod. I remember...when" British Prime Minister Gordon Brown "was here," the Obamas gave him "a DVD box set. So, it looks like they're saving the big gift, the Nintendo, for the Pope."
Jay Leno: "How's this for hypocrisy? While Congress has been chastising companies for giving out bonuses," last year, "members of Congress gave out over $9 million in bonuses," paid "for by...the taxpayer," to "their staff." But Congress "is saying they're not hypocrites because this extra money they give their staff really isn't bonus money. ... It's hush money. They just call it bonus money for legal reasons."
Jay Leno: "Months after Alaska Senator Ted Stevens was convicted for taking illegal gifts and lost" his "re-election, the Justice Department now wants all charges dropped. Apparently, there was such misconduct by the prosecution that he's going to be a free man and he gets to keep all the gifts. When he heard that, Rod Blagojevich announced he is moving to Alaska."
David Letterman: "The 'Guiding Light,' a soap opera" that has "been on television and radio" for "a combination of 72 years," has been "cancelled." This "is bad news for Mitt Romney," because "for years," he played "millionaire Carter St. James."