Snapshot of news and events for today
||Major world indicators
- The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average was up 17.17 points, or 0.2 percent, to 8,924.75.
- The dollar was at 98.85 yen from 99.13 yen.
Friday's U.S. Markets...
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Friday rose 5.9 points to 8,131.33. The gains left the Dow up 0.6 percent for the week, its first six-week winning streak since May 2007. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 2.63 at 1,673.07, the longest weekly gaining streak since the seven-week run ended Dec. 2, 2005.
- The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 2.95 percent from 2.92 percent.
- The dollar was at was at 99.25 yen from 99.32 yen, while the euro hit at one-month low at $1.3026 from $1.3171 late Thursday.
||Yesterday's action and
What happened the prior trading day...
- Corn: Futures ended near weekly lows, violating support at the March 30 lows to reopen additional near-term downside risk.
- Soybeans: Futures faced profit-taking pressure Friday, but posted strong gains for the week, especially in old-crop contracts.
- Wheat: Chicago wheat was slightly lower Friday, while Kansas City and Minneapolis futures slightly favored the upside.
- Cotton: Futures finished near weekly highs, with May cotton closing above the prior week's high to improve the near-term technical situation of the market.
- Lean Hogs: Lean hog futures settled slightly higher Friday, but finished lower for the week.
- Live Cattle: Live cattle futures ended the week under light pressure, taking June cattle back in line with the prior week's 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)
- Bank Lending Keeps Dropping Analysis of Treasury Data Paints Starker Picture Than Official Government Snapshots The paper analyzed the Treasury-released data in a slightly different way and uncovered what they say is a slower lending pace than reported by the government. The WSJ's key finding in their analysis: the biggest recipients of taxpayer aid made or refinanced 23% less in new loans in February, the latest available data, than in October, the month the Treasury kicked off the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
U.S. Considers Bank Equity Options
White House to Put Credit-Card Rates in Cross Hairs
- Fed Luminaries Spar Over U.S. Inflation Target The item recaps an exchange between current Fed vice chairman Donald Kohn and former Fed chief Paul Volcker on the Fed's current efforts relative to setting an inflation "target" in which both "fought" to a draw.
- Crazy-Quilt Jobless Programs Help Some More Than Others The item looks at how the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program has figured into the effort of addressing workers who have lost their jobs. It notes TAA has created a complex maze of programs, etc., to address unemployment.
- Stimulus Confusion Frustrates Business. Businesses remain uncertain about provisions of the economic stimulus package, in part because of a clause in the plan that prevents government officials from talking with federally registered lobbyists about details of the stimulus spending, except on issues of broad policy or logistics.
- Chinese Consumers Buck Trend by Spending More. Chinese consumer spending hasn't shrunk to the degree their economy has and that is seen as helping the country recover quickly as the global economy is in recession.
New York Times (registration to site required)
- Ill From Food? Investigations Vary by State The item looks at how different states handle food safety investigations, particularly contrasting the results in Minnesota and Kentucky. Officials from the latter admit they could do a better job of addressing foodborne illness outbreaks.
- Hemisphere's Leaders Signal Fresh Start With U.S. Some see the just-concluded summit in Trinidad as a signal that the region's leaders are warming to the shift in the U.S. leadership with President Obama now leading the United States.
- Obama's Revenue Plans Hit Resistance in Congress The item looks at the resistance that the revenue portions of the Obama budget plan have run into in Congress, with several lawmakers bristling at proposals such as limiting the value of affluent Americans' itemized deductions for things like charitable giving.
- U.S. May Convert Banks' Bailouts to Equity Share. Administration officials say they can stretch the remaining TARP dollars by converting the government's existing loans to the nation's 19 biggest banks into common stock.
||Monitoring the countryside
Des Moines Register (Iowa)
|Laughing with, not at
||From political humorists
Jay Leno: "President Obama now in Mexico." He has already "met with the FWEA, the Future Wal-Mart Employees of America."
Jay Leno: "And, you know," Obama "is the consummate politician. You see him trying to appeal to the Mexican people? Like, he even changed his slogan to 'Yes, we Mexi-can.' That's what he said today."
Jimmy Fallon: "Did you hear what Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, said about Obama yesterday? He called his new policies 'unsubstantial and overrated.' Then Hillary Clinton said, 'That's exactly what I've been saying.'"
Jimmy Kimmel: "President Obama" is "in Mexico right now. So if you want to break any laws or anything, this is the time to do it."
Jimmy Kimmel: "Part of the reason the President is there is to help stop the massive flow of drugs into America." Obama's "basic message is, 'Stop selling us the stuff, no matter how much we pay you.' And I don't know if it's going to work."