* April jobs report disappoints. The U.S. economy added 115,000 jobs in April, which was well below expectations of 170,000. Despite the disappointing non-farm payrolls figure, the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1% as 342,000 people left the work force (gave up looking for employment).
The long and short of it: Market reaction has been price-negative with stocks and commodities selling off, while safe-haven bonds are higher.
* Start of extended electronic grain trading hours pushed back to May 21. CME Group issued a new statement today regarding electronic trading hours for grain and soy futures, signaling the start of the new 22-hour trading day will be pushed back to May 21. The statement said, "Pending CFTC certification, CME Group customers will have expanded market access to a variety of CBOT futures and options on CME Globex 22 hours per day. Effective May 20, 2012, for trade date May 21, 2012, electronic trading hours for CBOT Corn, Mini-Sized Corn, Soybeans, Mini-Sized Soybeans, Wheat, Mini-Sized Wheat, Soybean Meal, Soybean Oil, Rough Rice, Oats, and Ethanol futures and options plus all related calendar spread options and inter-commodity spread options." The Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX) and Kansas City Board of Trade (KCBT) also today announced expanded trading hours for all electronically traded futures and options, starting Sunday, May 20, for the trade date Monday, May 21. MGEX and KCBT electronically traded wheat futures hours will be the same as CBOT -- 6 p.m. to 4 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday (5 p.m. to 4 p.m. CT, Sunday and Monday). At MGEX, trading hours for open outcry options remain unchanged -- 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday. The contract settlement period remains 1:14:00 p.m. CT, to 1:14:59 p.m. CT. At KCBT, daily settlements will continue to be based on the 1:15 p.m. CT close each day. Open outcry trading hours for wheat futures and options will remain from 9:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday.
The long and short of it: CME Group reportedly failed to file the proper paperwork with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) when it announced Tuesday afternoon its original plans to expand electronic trading hours for grain and soy futures, effective May 14. CFTC requires the paperwork to be filed at least 10 business days prior to the new hours taking effect, so there can be a public comment period. The pushed-back start gives market participants a little longer to make adjustments for the extended electronic grain trading hours.
* CME gets 90-day extension for new margins requirements. CME Group has been granted a 90-day extension for implementing new margin requirements for exchange members who are classified as speculators. The new margin requirements were to kick in next Monday, but the exchange will now have until Aug. 5 to implement the changes. "During the extension period, CME Clearing will work with the CFTC (Commodity Futures Trading Commission) to address member-customer concerns," CME Group said.
The long and short of it: The extension may ease some of the liquidation pressure that has been credited to the new margin requirements the past two days.
* Final HRW wheat tour results. Scouts on the Wheat Quality Council HRW wheat tour pulled 608 samples from Kansas wheat fields the past three days. The average of those samples was a record 49.1 bu. per acre, topping the 1998 high of 49 bu. per acre. Last year's calculated tour average was 37.4 bu. per acre. Aside from some dryness in southwestern Kansas and some disease pressure in central and northern areas, the crop was generally in good shape. Scouts reported crop maturity is three to four weeks ahead of normal. At the conclusion of the tour, participants guesstimated the Kansas wheat crop at 403.9 million bu. compared to actual production of 276.5 million bu. last year. If the guesstimate is accurate, it would be the state's largest production since 480 million bu. in 2003.
The long and short of it: While tour results were strong, some veteran scouts feel dryness and disease pressure will keep the crop from yielding as high as the tour samples indicated.