Stock markets are struggling to pull up from a fourth quarter nosedive. The index of leading economic indicators suggests the slowdown will continue well into next year. Consumer confidence has ebbed to its lowest level in two years.
The financial community hopes the Federal Reserve will begin to ease interest rates to jump-start the economy. Many banks already have lowered mortgage rates. Sales of previously occupied homes increased sharply last month.
Rural Americans are hardly immune from the machinations of the financial community, but typically their lives are defined more by nature than man. Folks on the Southern Plains got a stiff reminder of that this week.
Good weather in other parts of the world is wreaking havoc at the Chicago Board of Trade. Favorable growing conditions in South America could produce bumper soybean crops. After a six-week climb due to European demand, soybean futures at the Board of Trade fell sharply.<