Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.
After mulling it over for a day, the nation's investment community decided the Federal Reserve's one-quarter point rate cut was a good thing. Markets rallied. Wall Street also found comfort in the Supreme Court's ruling that overturned breaking giant Microsoft into two companies as a remedy for anti-competitive practices. The street may have also found comfort in the fact the Supreme Court ruled Microsoft was indeed a monopoly and acted in a predatory fashion. Traditionally The Street likes big aggressive predacious companies. It's also believed the ruling may encourage a quick settlement of the anti-trust case, removing investor doubts about the company. Less certain are prospects in Rural America. There it has been a trying year for grain, oilseed and fiber producers. This week government numbers confirming that difficulty gave markets a boost.
The abandonment of a million acres of Kansas wheat has not only sped the harvest in that state, but it's also affected the government's 2001 crop projections.
According to numbers released Friday morning about 31 million acres of winter wheat may be harvested this year, about a million fewer than last year. The loss of acres in Kansas coupled with lower stockpiles of the grain are likely to push prices higher in coming weeks despite lethargic world demand.
The markets were more responsive to the government report on soybean acres. USDA surveys reveal 75.42 million acres are planted to soybeans -- higher than last year, but lower than trade projections. The reduced plantings –especially 1.7 million acres in Iowa against strong demand pushed prices on Friday's open sharply higher. The story was similar in the corn pits. Acres lost to extreme wet or dry wet conditions totaled more than a million from the states of Iowa, South Dakota and Texas.