** OPENING GRAIN CALLS **
Corn: Mixed; light profit-taking vs. tightening stocks.
Wheat: 3 to 5 cents lower; dollar firmer.
Soybeans: Mixed; choppy in late overnight trade.
Meal: 50 cents to $1 lower; light corrective selling.
Soyoil: 20 to 30 points lower; spillover from crude oil.
Grain futures favored a weaker tone for much of the overnight session on light profit-taking pressure following yesterday's sharp gains, but corn and soybean futures turned mixed late. This signals traders view periods of price weakness as a buying opportunity. Traders still have yesterday's shocking corn carryover decline on their minds, which limits downside price risk.
This morning's Weekly Export Sales Report showed corn sales of over 1.1 million metric tons (MMT) for the current marketing year, coming in above expectations. The strong sales pace provides a reminder -- just one day after USDA slashed corn carryover -- that current prices aren't slowing demand.
Wheat sales of 391,300 metric tons (MT) were reported for 2010-11 and
sales of 116,000 MT were for 2011-12. Combined, the tally was within
expectations. A new 2010-11 marketing-year low for soybean sales was
reported at 20,800 MT, but sales of 950,300 MT for 2011-12 pulled the
overall tally near the top end of traders' expectations.
** OPENING LIVESTOCK CALLS **
Live cattle: Lower; profit-taking, waiting on cash trade.
Feeder cattle: Lower; spillover from live cattle.
Lean hogs: Steady to firmer; ongoing cash improvement.
Live and feeder cattle futures are called to open lower, as traders
anticipate feedlots will be working to get lots currents. Cash sources
expect cash cattle negotiations to heat up today as temperatures moderate. So far, packers haven't raised bids from initial $104 offerings, but asking prices are currently well above that level. Last week, cash cattle trade occurred between $106 and $107 in the Southern Plains.
Traders are also keeping a very close eye on the boxed beef market for clues of a near-term top being posted. While Choice values slipped 5 cents yesterday, Select values rose $1.48 to narrow the spread between Choice and Select to under a dollar. Movement also improved yesterday, with nearly 300 loads changing hands.
Lean hog futures are expected to see a boost from firmness in the cash hog market, with packers willing to dip even deeper into their profit margins to secure supplies for early next week. Upside potential for nearby futures will be limited today, as February hogs hold a slight premium to the cash index with contract expiration next Monday.