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Pork Bellies: I Knew It, I Knew It!

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Dakota Fanning’s well-documented love affair with Wall Street may be officially over, and there’s no point in dancing around why. The young actress, who was previously known to spend inordinate amounts of time “just chilling” (her words) on the Street, who’s rung the bell a record four times in the last three years, and who personally took credit in a post on her MySpace page for the Dow’s all-time highs this December is pissed over what she sees as a direct attack by “someone she considered a close friend and confidant”: Wall Street’s heavy investment in agricultural commodities, namely, livestock futures.

A study by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission] found the Wall Street funds control a fifth to a half of the futures contracts for commodities like corn, wheat and live cattle on Chicago, Kansas City and New York exchanges. On the Chicago exchanges, for example, the funds make up 47 percent of long-term contracts for live hog futures, 40 percent in wheat, 36 percent in live cattle and 21 percent in corn.
“These are jaw-dropping numbers,” said Dan Basse, president of AgResources, an agricultural research firm in Chicago. “We have seen this explosion of open interest in agricultural commodity trading, and now we know it is largely related to the commodity index funds.”
The market leaders are Goldman Sachs, with its Goldman Sachs commodities index, estimated to be about $60 billion at the end of 2005, and the Dow Jones-AIG commodity index, estimated at $30 billion to $40 billion. About 20 percent of the Goldman Sachs index, which has a heavy emphasis in energy, is weighted in agriculture and livestock commodities. About 40 percent of the Dow Jones-AIG index is in agriculture and livestock.

“Goldman, for all intents and purposes, is dead to me,” the tow headed actress allegedly told friends yesterday. Though it’s been assumed that Fanning would be a defendant of pigs because of the stance her character takes in Charlotte’s Web, her actual reason for such harsh words is a bit more dark. As it turns out, it’s Fanning’s belief that the vast majority of potential ticket holders are drawn to the movie not because of the cuteness of her co-star, but because they eat it all the time and, therefore, have it on the brain. Which is why the idea that such volatility increases the cost from the farm to the grocer, thereby raising the cost for the consumer, “irks [her] to no end.” Fanning added, “If people can’t buy pork, they’re going to replace it with poultry (the original white meat), or red meat. They’ll forget about pigs, in terms of eating them and for entertainment value. Suddenly, people will be going to movies about endearing cows, or slapstick comedies starring chickens. Either way, I’m going to lose money, and when Dakota loses money, people die."
Wall Street Is Betting on the Farm [NYTimes]


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