May 27, 2024

Wealth Matters: Despite Drop in Commodity Prices, Farmland Values Rise

A few weeks ago, Mr. Lindstrom said similar land sold for nearly $11,000 an acre.

This is a common story across the farm belt. In Indiana, William C. Ade, who made a fortune in oil and gas exploration in Asia, said he stopped adding to his 1,000 acres when the price passed $5,000 an acre.

“Right now it’s at auction as high as $12,000 an acre,” he said of land to grow corn and soybeans in northwest Indiana. “A poor plot of land went for $8,000.”

Mr. Lindstrom, who is a financial adviser at UBS Wealth Management in Omaha, and Mr. Ade, a member of the investment club Tiger 21, are among investors who say they believe farmland could be headed for a serious drop in values, if not a full-on crash. Of course, many of them have been thinking that for years.

The traditional view of farmland, from the farmer to the agricultural economist to the investment adviser, is, as Mr. Ade put it, “an inflation-proof bond.” (“No one is going to steal it,” he said. “No one is going to default on it. If inflation goes up, it will still be there.”)

After the financial collapse of 2008, most forms of real estate were shunned. But not farmland. Prices shot up, driven by rising commodity prices from global demand, low interest rates in the United States and high auction prices begetting higher prices.

Now commodity prices have fallen. Corn has gone to about $4.60 a bushel this week from over $8 a bushel last year. Soybeans have fallen to about $12.60 a bushel from over $17. Yet the value of farmland for row crops has continued to rise.

“We’re kind of at an inflection point,” said Brent Gloy, a professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University. “We’ve had five years of spectacular profitability that was somewhat unanticipated. The U.S.D.A. was forecasting much lower than this, so it surprised people.”

Yet there are still reasons to think that there will be buyers for land who will hold on to it for decades to come. A report released by U.S. Trust highlighted the graying of America’s farmers and their need to sell or lease their land as they age.

“Can land go up and down?” asked John Taylor, national farm and ranch executive for U.S. Trust, which manages 900 farms for investors. “Sure. But I’ve never seen land go to zero. And with world demand, there is no vacancy factor on good U.S. farmland.”

All of this raises the issue of whether it is time to sell.

Brian C. Duke, vice president for Northern Trust, said that even with the run-up in prices for commodities, the annual return of farmland remains about 3 percent. Since 2000, the value of land in Illinois, for example, has increased 207 percent. For an investment comparison, The Dow Jones industrial average went up 42 percent in that period. Triple-digit appreciation has a way of luring new investors.

More experienced investors said that appreciation isn’t the goal: to realize it you have to sell the land. “The capital gain is nice, ” said Albert Kirchner, who is known as Bud and owned a manufacturing company. “We don’t look at the capital gain. We look at it from a productivity standpoint.”

Mr. Kirchner owns 6,000 acres of corn and soybean land in Illinois, an 8,000-acre cattle ranch in Montana and 1,200 acres of timberland in Florida. But his benchmark since he started investing in land after World War II has remained a 4 percent annual return.

At that number and using Agriculture Department estimates that the average farmland value in Illinois is $7,800, Mr. Kirchner’s land would be worth $46.8 million, with an annual return of $1,872,000.

Article source:

As Indonesia Grows, Discontent Sets in Among Workers

The men — all employees of the biggest hypermarket chain in the nation, run by the French retail giant Carrefour — said the company was violating their rights by paying them as contract workers, unprotected by strict Indonesian labor laws.

“Cheap wages and outsourcing, these are the main issues in Indonesia,” said Abdul Rahman, a Carrefour employee and the secretary general of the union, known as Kasbi, which represents about 130,000 workers.

He and others have been negotiating with the company for improved contracts since a 1,000-person strike in late August, but talks have gone nowhere. The same cycle has played out repeatedly since Carrefour entered Indonesia in 1998, said Mr. Rahman, 33, who has worked at the company for 11 years.

United by discontent, Mr. Rahman and his fellow activists are far from alone. Indonesia, the largest economy in Southeast Asia, is also among the top 20 economies in the world, with growth this year of around 6 percent. On Thursday, the ratings agency Fitch upgraded the country to investment-grade status. More than 50 percent of its 240 million inhabitants have entered the middle class, according to the World Bank, which defines that as those who spend between $2 and $20 a day. Still, many of them toil for barely a living wage, offering some of the cheapest labor in Asia.

In recent years, though, this labor force has watched certain sectors grow fat on rising commodity prices and booming domestic demand, and increasingly, it is pushing for a greater share of company profits.

The biggest pushback has come from workers employed by Freeport McMoRan, which is based in Arizona and controls the world’s largest recoverable gold and copper reserves in Timika, Papua. On Wednesday, its workers’ union agreed to a 37 percent increase in wages after a three-month strike.

Affordable labor is a main reason investors are attracted to Indonesia, in part to offset wage increases in China, said Gita Wirjawan, currently the country’s trade minister and formerly head of its investment coordinating board.

But recent strikes for higher wages by mine workers and supermarket clerks, not to mention pilots of the state-owned airline, Garuda, have disrupted business operations — and could potentially deter foreign dollars.

According to the Manpower Ministry, Indonesia had 53 strikes in the first seven months of 2010, the last period for which figures are available. By comparison, in 2008 the International Labor Organization recorded five apiece in the nearby countries of Thailand and the Philippines.

Muhammad Chatib Basri, an economist at the University of Indonesia and the director of the Institute for Economic and Social Research, says frequent and prolonged strikes reduce profit margins and competitiveness. Sluggish Indonesian industries like garment manufacturing are starting to pick up as wages rise elsewhere, he says. But if the costs of dealing with unrest and lengthy union negotiations increase, that could stem growth in a country that will depend on labor-intensive industries for productive employment for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Basri says legally mandated high severance payments are another deterrent to investment.

“The labor law acts like a hiring tax, so many companies don’t want to absorb permanent workers because if there is downsizing, they have to pay out a lot of money,” he said.

Many companies get around that regulation by hiring contract workers, like the men of Kasbi demanding better benefits from Carrefour. But typically, big foreign concerns have a more difficult time evading the law in that way, and others, too, are facing worker unrest.

Article source:

DealBook: Wall St. Giants Seek a Piece of Nigeria’s Sovereign Fund

Wanted: A reliable overseas business partner to invest more than $1 billion presently trapped in Nigeria.

This is not a scam.

Nigeria, the West African nation that has gained notoriety for the illicit e-mail spammers aiming for Western bank accounts, is attracting attention for legitimate financial opportunities — investing its own savings.

In an effort to preserve and increase its oil revenue, the country recently established a so-called sovereign wealth fund, following the path of many resource-rich countries. Now, Wall Street titans like Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase are courting top government officials, aiming to grab a piece of a portfolio that could eventually be worth tens of billions of dollars.

“The country is at a point of inflection, and what we do in the next few years will set the pace,” said Olusegun Aganga, the former Nigerian finance minister and current minister for trade and investment, who helped create the sovereign wealth fund. “It’s a land of opportunities, which unfortunately has not been tapped well.”

More than half a century after discovering oil in the Niger Delta, the country continues to subsist barrel to barrel. Poverty is rampant. Public corruption is pervasive. And the government coffers are bare, even though Nigeria is the 10th-largest oil producer in the world.

By saving and investing the petro dollars, Nigeria hopes to break the resource curse. The nation, which derives 80 percent of its revenue from oil, created the sovereign wealth fund to buffer its economy from volatile commodity prices and impose fiscal discipline. The government so far has set aside $1 billion for the fund, and it could funnel as much as $2.5 billion a year, if oil prices remain high.

“One of our biggest problems in civil society is the time horizon that we’re operating on — whether election cycles or quarterly reports,” said Ashby H.B. Monk, a research associate at the University of Oxford who studies sovereign wealth funds. “The idea of a sovereign fund is to give government bureaucrats an opportunity to make long-term policy knowing that the buffeting winds of capitalism won’t blow them off course.”

Such funds have become powerful investment forces over the years. Abu Dhabi and Kuwait have amassed hundreds of billions of dollars by plowing their oil riches into stocks, bonds and other global assets. During the financial crisis, sovereign wealth funds provided critical capital to banks and other troubled firms.

To grab a piece of the lucrative business, big banks and asset managers have tirelessly cultivated relationships with governments worldwide and added teams dedicated to sovereign wealth funds. In recent months, bankers, lawyers and consultants flew to the Nigerian capital of Abuja to pitch officials on their services. The government chose JPMorgan Chase as one of its advisers on the structuring of the fund.

In other countries, the Wall Street feeding frenzy has drawn criticism. The Libyan Investment Authority, which was started in 2006, has complained that it lost millions of dollars on several investments, while money managers generated huge fees, according to documents leaked this summer to Global Witness, an advocacy group.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is looking into whether American money managers, in trying to land business with sovereign wealth funds, violated antibribery laws, according to people with knowledge of the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly about the inquiry. “If you don’t get these organizations designed correctly as sophisticated investment operations, you can lose a lot of money,” Mr. Monk said. “It’s the power of finance — for good or bad.”

Nigeria’s new fund is the brainchild of Mr. Aganga, a Nigerian native who worked at Ernst Young’s London office before joining Goldman Sachs in 2001. Last year, the Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, asked Mr. Aganga to join his cabinet.

As the minister of finance, Mr. Aganga pushed to start a sovereign wealth fund almost immediately. He had helped oversee part of Goldman’s Africa business, and knew Nigeria was among the last oil-rich nations without an investment portfolio.

“It’s important that we have some savings for the future generations,” Mr. Aganga said. “It just makes sense for your economy. You’re completely exposed otherwise.”

But Nigeria has a spotty record managing its money. In 2004, the country started plowing extra oil revenue into a separate account, as a way to build savings. At one point, the portfolio held an estimated $20 billion, analysts say.

The funds did not last long. State and federal authorities leaders regularly siphoned off money to fill budget holes, build utilities or pay for other projects. By last year, the assets had plummeted to less than $1 billion.

“There were no rules about withdrawals or whom it belonged to among the three tiers of government in Nigeria,” said Razia Khan, head of African research at Standard Chartered Bank.

To avoid making the same mistakes, Nigeria is earmarking assets for different purposes in a structure that mirrors older sovereign wealth funds. One portfolio, which will invest in stocks and bonds, is focused on long-term growth in preparation for the day when the oil wells run dry. An infrastructure portfolio will support upgrades to the country’s bridges, roads, buildings and railways.

During periods of weakness, the government will have an emergency account to prop up the economy. But officials will be able to access the money only under certain circumstances, like a steep drop in oil prices.

Commitment will be crucial. Some politicians are already grumbling that the sovereign wealth fund will divert assets that the economy desperately needs now, and they are threatening to derail the effort. Such pressure, said John Campbell, a former United States ambassador to Nigeria and a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, a nonpartisan research center, could prompt the country to “raid the cookie jar” to deal with short-term issues. “Unless there is the political will to live up to those aspirations,” he said, “it’s not going to work very well.”

“My view is, better mute the trumpets for the time being,” Mr. Campbell said.

It will come down to execution, say Nigerian officials and outside analysts. The government is tapping an independent board to oversee the investment process and to ensure compliance. While critics point to the delay in naming those directors as a potential concern, authorities defend their position. They argue that the new finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, a former managing director at the World Bank, who was sworn in this August, needs time to learn all about existing matters.

The board “will define how effective this becomes,” said Fola Oyeyinka, an adviser to the Nigerian minister of finance. “The flavor of that board will dictate not just to Nigerians but to the world how serious we are.”

Article source:

British Consumer Price Inflation Unexpectedly Slows

LONDON — British consumer price inflation unexpectedly slowed in June, offering a temporary respite to the Bank of England while the sovereign debt crisis in Europe intensified.

The pace of consumer price increases slowed to 4.2 percent from 4.5 percent in May but remained well above the 2 percent Bank of England target, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday.

The first drop in inflation in three months came as a surprise to some economists, who had expected higher food and commodity prices to continue to push overall prices up.

Slower inflation would reduce pressure on the Bank of England, which has kept interest rates at a record low of 0.5 percent to support a weak economic recovery even though inflation had continued to creep up well above its target.

The European Central Bank raised its interest rate to 1.5 percent last week to keep inflation in check.

Some economists warned that the inflation figures released Tuesday were just a temporary improvement, mainly due to stores starting to offer discounts early as consumer confidence floundered. Higher utility prices would probably still push inflation up to 5 percent this year, they warned.

“Most people were surprised by the figures,” Andrew Goodwin, an economist at Ernst Young in London, said. “Retailers are under so much pressure that they had to reduce prices early.”

The decline was led by clothing and items such as televisions, toys and computer games, the statistics office said. Retailers cut prices to lure consumers, who are putting off purchases amid concern about rising unemployment as a result of a wide-ranging government austerity program that started earlier this year.

Shares in the travel company Thomas Cook fell 28 percent Tuesday in London after it warned it would miss its profit forecast. Shares of Britain’s two largest supermarket chains, Tesco and J Sainsbury, also dropped.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn A. King, said this month that factors responsible for higher inflation in the past, including a sales tax increase and higher commodity prices, would “not continue to push up the price level in the future” and that “inflation should fall back towards the target during the next two years.”

There are signs, however, that price increases could accelerate again. Centrica, Britain’s biggest energy supplier, said last week that it planned to raise gas and electricity prices by more than 15 percent as of August.

A drop in the euro against the pound could put pressure on the British economy, which probably grew just 0.1 percent in the second quarter from the first, according to the National Institute for Economic and Social Research.

Concerns this week that the sovereign debt crisis could spread to Italy weighed on the euro, making British exports to the euro zone more expensive and less competitive. The British government is relying partly on increasing exports to accelerate Britain’s economic recovery.

Article source:

Stocks & Bonds: Markets Rise Sharply on Retail Sales and Other Economic Data

Analysts described the stronger market, which represented the Dow’s biggest gain this month, as a relief rally.

David Krein, a senior director for Dow Jones Indexes, said investors were pleased with the retail sales report. Best Buy’s fiscal first-quarter results also helped buoy the markets, Mr. Krein said.

The company reported earnings of $136 million, or $0.35 a share, compared with $155 million, or $0.36 a share, for the same period in 2010. The results beat forecasts, and shares of Best Buy rose more than 4.5 percent to $30.13.

An indicator of consumer purchasing from the Commerce Department showed that overall retail sales in May declined by 0.2 percent, less than the 0.5 percent fall that had been forecast by analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The figure was a reversal of the 0.3 percent increase in April, and it was the first monthly decline after 10 consecutive gains.

While the decline was not as steep as expected, economists cited areas of concern.

“With higher gas prices eating into the income available for discretionary spending, the consumer faces stiff headwinds,” said Joshua Shapiro, the chief United States economist for MFR.

The Producer Price Index, which reflects commodity prices for manufacturers, rose 0.2 percent in May, according to seasonally adjusted figures provided Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The increase was slightly higher than the 0.1 percent analysts had forecast, and it was below the 0.8 percent rise in April.

The increase in May in the index was attributed mostly to prices for energy goods — including gasoline and electricity — which rose 1.5 percent, the eighth consecutive monthly advance. The food component of the index declined 1.4 percent.

Analysts suggested that the markets were helped after data from China pointed to an increase in industrial output as well as a rise in consumer prices that was in line with forecasts. That helped markets in Asia move higher, and the momentum continued in trading in Europe and the United States.

“It is a pretty powerful relief rally,” said Keith B. Hembre, the chief economist and chief investment strategist at First American Funds.

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 123.14 points, or 1.03 percent, to 12,076.11. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index rose 16.04 points, or 1.26 percent, to 1,287.87. The Nasdaq composite index average climbed 39.03 points, or 1.48 percent, to 2,678.72.

The stock market had been in a six-week slump, partly fueled by concerns over the pace of the global and domestic economic recovery, and concerns over sovereign debt problems in the euro zone.

Protracted political wrangling over the national debt ceiling in the United States also has been a factor. Moody’s Investors Service said early this month that it might downgrade the United States credit rating if lawmakers did not raise the ceiling “in coming weeks.”

On Tuesday, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben S. Bernanke, warned about the consequences of continued delay, saying even a short suspension of payments on principal or interest on the Treasury’s debt obligations could severely disrupt financial markets.

He also said that interest rates soared as investors lost confidence, as seen in a number of countries recently.

“Although historical experience and economic theory do not show the exact threshold at which the perceived risks associated with the U. S. public debt would increase markedly, we can be sure that, without corrective action, our fiscal trajectory is moving us ever closer to that point,” he said.

On Tuesday, the yield on the Treasury’s 10-year note, which is linked to interest rates on mortgages and other borrowing, rose to 3.10 percent, from 2.98 percent late Monday. Its price fell 1 point, to 101 7/32.

Stocks, however, kept their momentum throughout the day.

J. C. Penney rose nearly 17.5 percent to $35.37, after the retailer announced that the head of Apple’s retail stores would lead its company.

The Apple executive, Ron Johnson, will replace Myron E. Ullman III as Penney’s chief executive on Nov. 1, the retailer said.

“The markets have been in a corrective stage, and I think we have reached levels now that perhaps we can see some renewed interest in terms of valuations,” said Peter Cardillo, the chief market economist for Avalon Partners.

Article source:

Britain Warns of Inflation Risk

The bank also said the British economy was not growing as fast as it had expected, as “the continuing squeeze on households’ real incomes is likely to weigh on demand, especially over the next year or so.”

“Although inflation fell to 4 percent in March, it remains uncomfortably high and well above the 2 percent target,” Mervyn A. King , the central bank governor, said at a news conference in London. “And there is a good chance that if utility prices rise further later in the year, inflation will reach 5 percent before falling back through 2012 and into 2013.”

Mr. King said that inflation was being driven primarily by higher prices for commodities and imports, as well as an increase in Britain’s value-added tax. Considering the sensitivity of inflation to such factors and recent volatility in commodity prices, he said, “there is a great deal of uncertainty in the outlook for inflation.”

The FTSE 100 slipped and the pound rose against the dollar, jumping to $1.6476 from $1.6367, on expectations that the bank would raise its main interest rate target this year from the current level of 0.5 percent, a record low, where it has stood since March 2009.

Because of increasing energy prices, consumer price inflation “is likely to rise further this year and is more likely than not to remain above the target throughout 2012,” the central bank said.

The latest data suggests the committee will make its first interest rate increase in the second half of 2011, possibly in August or November, Simon Hayes, an economist with Barclays Capital in London, wrote in a research note. Referring to the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee, he wrote, “We believe most M.P.C. members will want to take the opportunity to move away from the current extremely loose policy setting, which, after all, was adopted as an emergency measure.”

The committee, Mr. Hayes wrote, “has become increasingly uncomfortable with the fact that it keeps pushing out the point at which inflation returns to target,” and “the current policy setting looks increasingly unlikely to generate the necessary drop at any reasonable time horizon.”

In the 17 nations of the euro zone, prices at the consumer level rose 2.7 percent in March from a year earlier, above the European Central Bank’s 2 percent target and matching the March rise in the United States.

Inflation in China is running at more than 5 percent.

The European Central Bank has already raised its main rate once this year and has signaled that another increase could come in July.

Article source:

Economix: The Two-Track Recovery (or ‘Depression’?)

Despite what the gross domestic product report released Thursday shows, nearly a third of Americans believe the country is in a depression, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll, conducted April 20-23, found that 29 percent of Americans thought the economy was in a depression, and an additional 26 percent thought it was in a recession.

The recession technically ended nearly two years ago, according to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Some of the disconnect between expert and popular views may be due to semantics. To economists, the words “recession” and “expansion” refer to a change in economic activity — that is, which direction is the economy moving in. But most laypeople who hear these terms probably think of the level of economic activity — that is, does the economy feel healthy or not.

But even if we take the poll responses to mean “is the economy healthy” (or some variant of that concept), the responses still warrant further digging.

It turns out the people most likely to say the economy is “growing,” and the least likely to say the economy is in a “depression,” are the wealthy. Poor Americans are twice as likely to think the economy is in a depression as the rich are:


This makes sense: Rich people have seen more improvements than the poor in the last few years, considering factors like the rise in the stock market (which primarily benefits wealthier Americans) and the surge in commodity prices (which disproportionately hurt the poor).

They say all politics is local; perhaps all economics is, too.

Article source:

Stocks Mostly Lower in Late Trading Amid Inflation concerns

The session was on track for the lowest volume of the year after the long Easter weekend, and margin worries kept the Dow and SP from building on the gains seen in last week’s solid earnings.

About 3.7 billion shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange, the American Stock Exchange and Nasdaq as of midafternoon, below average at this point in the session.

The threat of rising commodity costs was spotlighted by Kimberly-Clark’s decline of 2.9 percent to $64.15 after it cut the low end of its full-year outlook, saying the costs of pulp and other goods were rising more than twice as much as it had expected.

Kimberly, maker of Kleenex tissue, is among companies highly vulnerable to rising commodity costs because its products contain oil-based materials and paper.

“That is largely in my mind being driven by oil prices, but other commodity prices are driving it too,” said Stephen Massocca, managing director at Wedbush Morgan in San Francisco.

Johnson Controls fell 2.5 percent to $39.70 after the company, one of the world’s largest auto suppliers, said its fiscal third-quarter results would be hit by a drop in car production following the earthquake in Japan. Japan’s earthquake has disrupted the supply of auto parts and forced auto companies to idle plants.

Through Monday, 75 percent of the 151 companies in the SP 500 that have reported results have beaten analysts’ expectations. That is just above the average over the last four quarters but well above the average of 62 percent since 1994, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 25.20 points, or 0.20 percent, to 12,480.79. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index shed 1.68 points, or 0.13 percent, to 1,335.70. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 4.37 points, or 0.15 percent, to 2,824.53.

The Nasdaq edged higher, helped by SanDisk, which was up 2.2 percent at $50.06 after raising its 2011 margin outlook late Thursday.

But energy and materials companies’ shares ranked among the worst performers, with the PHLX oil service sector index off 0.9 percent and the SP Materials Index down 0.7 percent. Oil prices fell after crude hit its highest level since September 2008, as investors took profits on a sell off in silver from near record highs.

This week is another hectic one for earnings, including, Coca-Cola, Microsoft and Exxon Mobil.

The week’s agenda includes a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve’s policymaking committee on Tuesday and Wednesday. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will hold the first of four annual press conferences on Wednesday after the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting ends. Investors will look for clues about the direction of monetary policy when the Fed’s bond buying program ends in June.

Article source:

Stocks and Bonds: Light Trading Ahead of Earnings Season

With oil prices reaching a 30-month high of $108 a barrel, some investors are waiting for Alcoa to report its first-quarter earnings next Monday, the unofficial start of the earnings season, before making any big moves. Traders are hoping to see how rising gasoline prices and other commodity costs are affecting corporate profits.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 23.31 points, or 0.19 percent, to 12,400.03. The Standard Poor’s 500-stock index gained 0.46 points, or 0.03 percent, to 1,332.87, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 0.41 points, or 0.01 percent, to 2,789.19.

Materials companies gained 0.7 percent, the most of any of the 10 company groups that make up the S. P. 500, as commodity prices increased. Futures contracts for corn, wheat and sugar each rose more than 2 percent.

In company news, Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, said it would it sell its Capsugel unit to an affiliate of the private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for $2.4 billion in cash. Capsugel makes capsules for oral medicines and dietary supplements. Pfizer rose less than 1 percent.

Southwest Airlines fell nearly 2 percent as the company continued to inspect its planes after the fuselage of one jet ripped open Friday, forcing it to make an emergency landing. Southwest grounded 79 planes after the incident and canceled about 700 flights over the weekend. The company canceled 70 flights on Monday.

Ford Motor rose 2.6 percent. The company’s sales rose 16 percent in March, in part because of the success of its new Explorer crossover vehicle. A Credit Suisse analyst upgraded the automaker, citing an improved balance sheet.

Vivus rose nearly 7 percent after the drug developer said patients taking its diet pill Qnexa over two years saw reductions in blood pressure in addition to significant weight loss.

Interest rates were lower. The Treasury’s benchmark 10-year note rose 7/32, to 101 23/32, and the yield slipped to 3.42 percent from 3.44 percent late Friday.

Article source: