Corn futures are called 1 cent lower on profit-taking. Corn futures didn't stray too far from unchanged in overnight trade, ending the session with losses around 1 cent in most contracts. Key this morning will be if funds view the softer tone as a buying opportunity as they have been aggressive buyers of corn so far this week. The U.S. dollar index is weaker this morning, which could encourage value buying in commodities. Rains moving across the Corn Belt beginning today -- and well into next week -- will slow planting. Traders aren't overly concerned as planting is running around a week ahead of schedule as of Sunday, but prolonged delays would begin to scale back acreage expectations.
Soybean futures are called 3 to 4 cents lower amid profit-taking. Soybean futures saw light profit-taking overnight following yesterday's high-range close. Bulls still hold the technical advantage and have nearly corrected the market's overbought situation. Some fundamental support for the market has come from weather concerns in South America that have trimmed top-end yield potential. Traders note the forecast has improved for Argentina, which should allow producers back into fields soon to assess damage. A weaker tone in the U.S. dollar index helped limit pressure to light profit-taking overnight. Also this morning, USDA announced an unknown buyer has purchased 350,000 MT of old-crop soybeans and 43,000 MT of new-crop soybeans.
Winter wheat is called 1 to 3 cents lower, with spring wheat expected to open 1 to 2 cents firmer. Winter wheat futures saw some profit-taking overnight after a moderate round of fund buying yesterday. A weaker tone in the U.S. dollar index limited selling. Spring wheat futures extended their premium to the winter wheat markets on expectations for increased demand for high-quality wheat. Powerful storms moved through the Central and Southern Plains yesterday and overnight, bringing heavy rains, hail and strong winds. Traders are largely unconcerned about the winter wheat crop after Monday's condition ratings reflected improvement.
Cattle futures are called firmer on followthrough buying. Futures are expected to enjoy followthrough technical buying, although bears still hold the technical advantage as the downtrends remain intact. April live cattle yesterday moved in line with the average of last week's cash trading range, which according to USDA was $126.45. Further gains in futures today would signal traders have a neutral to positive bias toward the cash market. Packers have seen margins strengthen, but this week's showlist is larger than week-ago and so far this week beef movement hasn't been impressive. Choice beef values declined $1.64 and Select rose 15 cents yesterday on movement of 118 loads.
Lean hog futures are called steady to firmer on spillover from cattle. The corrective rebound in cattle futures is supportive for lean hog futures. But with May lean hog futures trading at around a $7 premium to the cash index, upside potential will be limited. Pork cutout values firmed $1.25 yesterday on solid movement of 374.33 loads. For the week ending April 23, the average Iowa/southern Minnesota hog weight declined by 0.1 lbs. to 284 lbs., down 2.2 lbs. from year-ago, reflecting marketings are current. The cash hog market is expected to be mostly steady today amid varied packer demand.
Cotton futures firmed after the most-active July contract failed at new highs Tuesday. That setback reportedly reflected profit-taking by long position holders, but reports that open interest actually increased yesterday suggest fresh selling also entered the market. Recent equity market weakness may have weighed on prices somewhat, but that negative demand influence may have been at least partially balanced by concurrent U.S. dollar slippage. That implies a potential improvement in export demand. May cotton gained 0.33 cents to 63.79 cents/pound in early Wednesday trading, while the July contract edged up 0.05 to 63.88.