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Overnight highlights. Following are opening grain and livestock calls at 6:38 a.m. CT:
Corn: Mixed. Corn futures haven't strayed too far from unchanged in overnight trade, with nearbys firmer amid bull spreading. Focus in the market is on evening positions ahead of tomorrow's key USDA reports that will give both old- and new-crop contracts key data. The first-half usage pace will be key to determine how much corn is left moving forward and how acreage stacks up will direct new-crop futures into spring.
Soybeans: 1 to 3 cents higher. Futures are mostly firmer this morning, with nearbys leading gains. Strength in the dollar index is being ignored by the market, although may be limiting buying to short-covering. Spreading with neighboring corn is a featured event given traders are evening positions ahead of tomorrow's key reports. Traders expect the acreage report to show soybean gaining acres from last year at the expense of corn-on-corn acres.
Wheat: Mixed. Futures haven't seen very much net price change in overnight trade, but are favoring a firmer tone on spillover from neighboring pits. Upside potential is being limited by strength in the dollar as well as a lack of fresh news. May Chicago wheat is trading at a slight premium to May corn futures this morning. Traders also remain concerned about the recent freeze event across the Plains, although damage estimates are not fully known.
Live cattle: Mixed. Futures are expected to be mixed as traders wait on the cash market for clearer direction. But given ongoing weakness in the boxed beef market it will be difficult for feedlots to get higher prices for this week's cattle. However, the good news is beef movement has picked up at the lower prices which signals retailers may be gearing up for early spring features.
Lean hogs: Mixed. Futures are expected to be choppy today as traders even positions ahead of tomorrow afternoon's Hogs & Pigs Report. Buying in hogs will be limited amid light demand for cash hogs. Packers have seen profit margins tighten this week which is further dampening packers' demand for cash hogs.