Traders may be evening up positions ahead of Tuesday’s reports. Tomorrow’s big USDA Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports could spark strong reactions in the crop markets, which suggests traders are squaring positions beforehand. That would explains the lack of direction exhibited by corn futures overnight. The yellow grain market seemed to follow soybeans and wheat modestly higher. May corn futures crept up 0.5 cent to $3.915/bushel Sunday night, while December moved 0.25 higher to $4.15.
The soy complex bounced modestly from last week’s losses. The industry suspects Tuesday’s USDA Prospective Plantings report could prove bearish for the 2015 soy outlook, which would explain last week’s sustained weakness. However, prices have started this week firmly, possibly reflecting ideas that the slippage was overdone. The Grain Stocks data might also reflect vigorous underlying demand. May soybean futures rose 2.25 cents to $9.695/bushel early Monday morning, while May soyoil edged up 0.04 cents 30.64 cents/pound, and May meal lifted $1.2 to $322.6/ton.
The wheat markets reacted to scattered weekend rains. Wheat futures marched higher Friday as they recovered from Thursday’s big breakdown. They extended the gains early Monday morning, with wire service reports citing the scattered nature of weekend rainfall over the southern Plains wheat region. Again, the results of Tuesday’s USDA reports are likely weighing on focusing the industry’s attention as well. May CBOT wheat gained 3.75 cents to $5.115/bushel in early Monday trading, while May KC wheat rallied 4.5 cents to $5.5675/bushel, and May MWE wheat added 2.25 to $5.7725.
Cattle traders apparently anticipated Friday’s cash firmness. Cattle futures traded weakly Thursday, with suspicions of short-term wholesale slippage being the likely cause. However, CME prices rebounded today despite weak midsession beef quotes. The rally suggested traders were leaning toward stronger cash market trading later in the day, which did occur (country quotes rose to $165/cwt. That makes for a strong opening today as well. April cattle futures climbed 0.95 cents to 162.62 cents/pound at Friday’s close, while August cattle ran up 0.90 to 149.95 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures leapt 2.05 cents to 219.27 cents/pound, and August feeders jumped 2.02 to 219.22.
CME hogs traded mixed before Friday’s report. The cash hog and wholesale pork markets ended Thursday on a strong note, which supported swine futures in early Friday trading. However, the Chicago gains dwindled as the day passed, with the deferred contracts dipping below unchanged levels at the close. Talk of big supplies on the quarterly Hogs & Pigs report probably undercut prices. The report was seen as moderately bearish for the 2015 outlook, so futures seem likely to open weakly this morning. April hog futures ended Friday having risen 0.15 cents to 61.12 cents/pound, while June hogs slid 0.15 to 75.00.
Cotton futures are starting the week on a mixed note. The USDA Prospective Plantings report is almost surely on the minds of cotton traders as well, especially after two different pre-report industry surveys came up with significantly different results. We think various interests are evening up positions prior to Tuesday’s release. May cotton inched up 0.05 cents to 63.60 cents/pound shortly after sunrise Monday, while December futures slid 0.19 to 64.49.