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Monsanto Aims to Plant Seeds of Recovery


Earnings for ag giant sending the stock higher.

Minyanville Morning Memo

What to Watch: Monsanto (MON) was making investors money this morning as shares of the world's largest seed manufacturer were up as of 8:15 AM Eastern after reporting Q3 earnings of $1.25 before the bell. Restructuring charges were also announced, with more information forthcoming on the company's conference call. Ethanol seems so yesterday but the company is a key player in any feed-the-world portfolio and its results are worth watching for a market currently in dire need of direction. (Witness the OECD seeing the strongest economic outlook in two years, two days after the World Bank gave us gloomy Gus).

What Just Happened: U.S. stock markets dared to be boring yesterday after Monday's plunge, treading water ahead of the Fed this afternoon. No sign of the terrible two's as the Treasury hosted a solid two-year auction. Asia ended up in overnight action.

What's Happening: Europe is trading higher. Back to the futures, in the pre-market the only way is up with equities posed to open higher at home. The dollar declined to two week lows. Oil is down and ten year Treasuries up.

What Will Happen: Plenty of food for thought on the earnings front with results from both Darden (DRI) and CKE Restaurants (CKR). Fitting, for the business section of today's NY Times talks about how price wars in the casual dining front are evident from Ruby Tuesday (RT) to T.G.I. Friday's ("discounts force restaurants to eat their own lunch"). Recessionary times are clearly forcing customers to tighten their belts, if only to loosen them again after indulging in heaps of cheap eats. Nike (NKE), American Greetings (AM), and Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) also report today.

On the economy, we get durable goods orders at 8:30 AM Eastern. May new home sales are out ninety minutes later, a less important metric than existing sales but one which should still command attention on the day Ed McMahon is America's lead obituary. When television's best loved sidekick fought foreclosure on his Beverley Hills mansion last year he became an unlikely poster child for the financial crisis at age 85. Hopefully he just received a warmer welcome at the Pearly gates than that afforded by Southern California's gated communities. And we wait with bated breath for the Fed at 2:15. Rates seem certain to remain at historic lows, but any smoke signals as to future monetary intent will be scrutinized at trading desks worldwide.

Happenstance: Today's wild card will be the words Bernanke & Co employ in the FOMC's policy statement. Assuming his ego has recovered from yesterday's attack editorial in The Wall Street Journal, the chairman can at least be relied upon to communicate in clear English, a skill seldom seen in his predecessor. 'Helicopter Ben' has to get it right for stocks to take off.
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