Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.
Investment fundamentals this week were based on an increasingly imminent war with Iraq, a rising national poverty rate, and sinking consumer confidence.
As a result, financial markets continue to struggle. The Federal Reserve responded by leaving short-term interest rates at their 40-year lows. In doing so, the Fed hopes to spur consumers to spend and businesses to invest.
Still, there was enough bad economic news to pressure the markets. August numbers show orders to factories for big-ticket, durable goods dipping, sales of existing homes plunging, and consumer confidence sagging to a nine-month low.
Meanwhile, despite some upside, the commodity markets remain cautious as the fall harvest kicks into higher gear.
Harvest pressure kept grain and oilseed markets choppy this week despite strong export sales. The corn and bean trade was unable to move on either varied reports of yield or anticipation of a USDA crop report due out Monday. The wheat trade also remains erratic.
Meanwhile, in the field, mild, dry weather has pushed forward the pace of the autumn harvest. According to USDA, 13 percent of the corn crop is in the bin … 6 percent of the soybean crop is out of the ground … and 13 percent of the cotton crop is baled.
On the planting side, nearly a third pf the nation's winter wheat crop has been seeded, the majority of that in the Far West.