Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average dropped 206.68 points, or 2.4 percent, to 8,517.10.
- The dollar was at 90.31 yen, down from 90.85 yen.
Monday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 100.28, or 1.18 percent, to 8,419.49 -- down more than 400 points for December, typically its best month of the year. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 10.81, or 0.71 percent, to 1,521.54.
- The 10-year Treasury note was yielding 2.163 percent, up from Monday's 2.141 percent.
- The dollar was at 90.90 yen from 90.08 yen, while the euro was at $1.3947 from $1.3943 late Monday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened yesterday...
- Corn: Futures were firmer most of the day, closing near session highs and finishing 11 3/4 to 13 cents higher.
- Soybeans: Futures saw choppy trade, but favored a firmer tone most of the day and closed near session highs, finishing mostly around 14 cents higher.
- Wheat: Futures opened weaker, but closed firmer on spillover from neighboring corn and soybean pits.
- Cotton: Futures closed firmer, seeing spillover support from the grain market and from short-covering.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures closed 12 to 50 cents higher to cap off a choppy day of price action.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures closed 10 to 70 cents higher in all but the December contract, which closed 32 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)
- Obama, Two Aides Questioned in Probe Federal prosecutors interviewed President-elect Obama and two aides relative to their contacts with the office of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the Senate seat that Obama vacated. Obama transition office released a memo about the interviews this week.
Affidavit Alleges Blagojevich Sought Racing Official's Contribution
- Recession, Tight Credit Compound Housing Woes Data Show Sales of New and Existing Homes Plunge, as Do Prices; Coming Foreclosures Likely to Add to Inventory Overhang Now some doubt the housing sector will see a bottom until sometime late in 2009 in the wake of economic woes and tight credit.
- Biden Says Stimulus Won't Include Earmarks Incoming Vice President Joe Biden pledged the economic stimulus plan his group is working on will not include earmarks and there will be online ways to track spending of the effort that is expected to be $675 billion to $775 billion.
Retailers Want In on Stimulus Plan
- Gas Exporters' New Alliance in Moscow Makes Few Waves Amid Low Prices Energy ministers from 12 countries decided to turn what had been an informal club into a permanent organization, to be named the Forum of Gas Exporting Countries. However, most note that since gas prices in long-term supply contracts are tied to the price of oil, the new cartel won't have the clout of OPEC.
- An Ethanol Bailout? And we thought we'd seen everything.. Review & Outlook item. The paper criticizes the ethanol industry's call short-term credit from the government and loan guarantees to finance expansion.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Obama Report Outlines Talks on Senate Seat The report filed by the Obama team indicated that his incoming chief of staff recommended a specific person for the Senate seat, only to learn later that Obama did not want to recommend a specific person for the post.
- Is a New Food Policy on Obama's List? The writer opines that President-elect Obama is the first "foodie" since Thomas Jefferson, saying he has a "more sophisticated palate" than some of his predecessors and that his choice of former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) effectively shoved the hopes of those advocating organic agriculture "to the curb."
- New Congress Likely to Meet Before Ruling in Minnesota. The new Senate will meet Jan. 6 but the Minnesota Senate race won't likely be resolved by that time, according to state officials. If the winner is not declared by Jan. 6, the 17th Amendment to the Constitution as well as state law holds that the governor, Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, can appoint an interim senator or decide that Minnesota will go without one senator until the recount is resolved.
- 'Green' Jobs Compete for Stimulus Aid Obama Weighs Them Vs. Traditional Projects Part of the debate within the incoming administration on an economic stimulus package is over jobs -- "shovel-ready projects," such as highway and bridge construction, vs. spending on more environmentally conscious projects, such as grids for wind and solar power.
- SEC Chair Defends His Restraint During Financial Crisis Cox Rebuffs Criticism of Leadership During Crisis SEC chief Christopher Cox takes issues with criticism of his leadership at the agency during the financial crisis, especially when it appears other regulators were more aggressive.
SEC Moves to Bring Transparency To Market for Credit-Default Swaps
- Targeting Obesity Alongside Hunger Obama Administration May Look to Tie Food Assistance to Improved Nutrition The article notes there is a drive among some in the new administration to link receiving food aid from the government with buying more nutritionally fit foods. But some counter that availability of those foods isn't always widespread and that could further crimp aid recipients' abilities to feed their families.
- UAW Vows to Fight Wage Concessions Labor Leaders Seek to Renegotiate White House Terms on Auto Bailout Leaders of the United Auto Workers say they are seeking to renegotiate terms of the bailout for automakers rather than take the wage concessions that were part of the package.
||Monitoring the countryside
Wichita Eagle (Kansas)
- Bill to seek merger of state ag agencies Auditors estimate the consolidation could save $710,000 a year. Merging the State Conservation Commission and Animal Health Department into the state's ag department would save money, but the two agencies aren't necessarily in favor of the recommendation.
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: Governor Rod Blagojevich "will apparently not fill Barack Obama's vacant senate seat any time soon. He says he's gonna wait until next summer when the prices improve."
David Letterman: "It's so cold today President Bush was ducking ski boots."
David Letterman: "Today is the second day of Hanukkah, John McCain made an appearance with Joe the Rabbi."
Conan O'Brien: "'In a recent interview, President Bush says that he's already begun thinking about his farewell speech. Yeah, which means he's only two years behind most Americans."