Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.
Though government economic reports issued this week offered a mixed bag, the news from the powerful Federal Reserve was indeed bullish. In a survey of its 12 regional banks, the Fed found economic activity accelerating with consumer spending strong in most parts of the country. The survey even found signs of life in the nation's beleaguered manufacturing sector.
The Fed will use the survey, one of eight it does each year, to help decide interest rate levels at its October 28th meeting. Most analysts believe the central bank will leave rates unchanged.
There's upbeat news in the country, as well, where rising prices for some farm commodities are driving the harvest of '03.
Despite scattered showers across the Midwest, the harvest continues to move forward.
At 10% ahead of last years pace, 60% of the soybeans are in the bin.
Meanwhile, work on the projected bumper corn crop is under way with 39% already out of the field.
In cotton country, 28% has been harvested, on pace with last year at this time.
With the harvest market, trading has been active, to say the least.
With a record corn crop in view, traders are gazing into their crystal balls in hopes of seeing how low the market will go.
Across the pits, bean traders are caught between tight domestic supplies and rising world surpluses. The past week saw prices hit "limit-up" several times.