Price action: March through July corn futures ended 5 1/4 to 7 3/4 cents lower on spillover from double-digit losses in the soybean market, while the September contract was 3/4 cent lower and new-crop contracts finished steady to 1/4 cent higher amid bull spread unwinding.
Fundamental analysis: A lack of fresh news and a gradual firming of the dollar index kept corn on the defensive for much of the open-outcry session. Today's losses were largely profit-taking in nature, although traders noted a lack of fresh export news could also be a limiting factor for a price rally in the near-term.
An improved forecast for central Argentina also pressured corn futures around midday. The 6-10 day forecast calls for more widespread rains (although temps are also expected to be hotter), which are much needed after a three-week dry spell has stressed crops.
Technical analysis: March corn futures posted a downside day of trade on the daily chart and posted a low-range close. Support lies at the Jan. 2 high of $7.07 1/4 and extends to the January low of $6.78. A return above initial resistance at last week's high of $7.35 would make bulls' next target the November high of $7.67 1/2.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market -- 10% for March 2013 delivery. No 2013-crop sales recommended yet.
Cash-only marketers: 75% sold on 2012-crop --10% for March 2013 delivery; 15% for May 2013 delivery. No 2013-crop sales recommended yet.
Price action: Soybean futures softened as the day progressed. Futures moved slightly off their lows into the close to end 8 to 14 3/4 cents lower for the day, with nearbys leading losses.
Fundamental analysis: Soybean futures saw firmer trade this morning, but the market softened around midday after the release of a wetter 6- to 10-day forecast for central Argentina. This region has been drying out, which is worrisome for a bean crop that is thought to have a shallow root system due to an overly wet spring.
But downside risk is likely limited to profit-taking as a steady stream of soybean sales announcements has kept strong soy demand in focus.
Technical analysis: March soybean futures remain within the bounds of their recent uptrend, with support layered from the psychological $14.00 mark to the January low of $13.51 1/2. Near-term resistance stands at yesterday's high of $14.60 3/4, followed by the December high of $15.01 1/4.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. No futures/options positions at this time. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Cash-only marketers: 75% sold on 2012-crop production for harvest delivery. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Price action: Following a two-sided day of trade, wheat futures ended in the lower portion of today's range at all three exchanges. Wheat futures closed around 3 to 4 cents lower in Chicago, narrowly mixed in Kansas City and roughly 1 to 4 cents lower in Minneapolis.
Fundamental analysis: Wheat futures were supported at times today by ongoing drought concerns in the U.S. Plains, along with other global crop woes, and spillover from other grain/soy markets. When soybeans and corn lost upside momentum and turned lower, wheat followed amid a lack of strong supportive news.
While wheat traders are concerned about the drought in the Plains, it's too early for them to get overly excited. As a result, it's hard to sustain buying interest on this factor. Also, export demand, while slightly improved in recent weeks, isn't strong enough to support active buying. Wheat will remain reliant on other markets for sustained price support.
Technical analysis: March Chicago wheat futures continue to be guided by the downtrend from the November swing highs. Until that trendline is violated, the move off the January low nothing more than a corrective bounce. The Jan. 11 low of $7.36 1/4 is bears' target if the contract rolls over.
Hedgers: 75% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Cash-only marketers: 75% of 2012-crop is sold. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Price action: Cotton futures settled 21 to 58 points higher through the July contract. New-crop futures closed 15 to 32 points lower.
Fundamental analysis: Cotton futures faced light profit-taking through much of the session, but old-crop contracts strengthened late to finish higher and extend the recent price upswing. The late firming of old-crop contracts confirms attitudes are strong, which opens the door to more near-term price strength.
India's Textile Commissioner said today the country is forecast to export 8 MMT of cotton in 2012-13 (October to September). While that's down 38% from 2011-12, it's 1 MMT higher than previously forecast as China is expected to boost imports after the government trims some of its older stocks.
Technical analysis: March cotton futures have now posted three consecutive higher closes above the August high of 78.02 cents, turning that level into solid support. A quick close below that level would signal the breakout attempt was a bull trap. But if the contract fills the May 11 gap at 80.56 cents, it would signal bulls have solid technical control.
Hedgers: 50% priced on expected 2012-crop production in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 50% priced on expected 2012-crop production in the cash market.