Price action: Corn futures faced mild pressure throughout the day and ended 1 1/4 to 3 1/2 cents lower on the day. Funds sold 4,000 corn contracts (20 million bu.) today.
Fundamental analysis: Profit-taking weighed on the corn market today amid a quieter news day out of the Black Sea region. Strength in the U.S. dollar index and losses in the wheat market for much of the day added some incentive to that end. Also, the forecast for warmer Corn Belt temps next week diminished concerns about potential planting delays.
The release of planted acreage estimates from Informa Economics and pre-report expectations shifted some attention to positioning ahead of USDA's Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks Reports Monday. Pre-report expectations are USDA to peg corn plantings at 92.748 million acres, which would be up 748,000 acres from its Ag Outlook forum projection. Informa expects USDA to peg corn plantings at 93.029 million acres.
Technical analysis: May corn spent the day trading within the upper half of yesterday's trading range. The consolidated trading range that roughly extends from $4.75 to $4.93 marks near-term support and resistance, respectively.
Hedgers: 70% sold on old-crop. 30% of expected 2014-crop is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery.
Cash-only marketers: 60% sold on old-crop. 30% of expected 2014-crop is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery.
Price action: Soybean futures closed 2 1/2 to 5 1/4 cents higher, with new-crop contracts leading price gains. Funds were "flat" on the day -- neither net buyers nor net sellers.
Fundamental analysis: Soybean futures faced profit-taking at times today coming off yesterday's gains. But selling interest was limited by tight old-crop supplies and the fact China has yet to actively cancel U.S. soybean purchases. The soybean market was also helped by technical-based buying as traders favored long soybean/short corn spreads today.
Informa Economics released updated planted acreage estimates mid-morning, pegging soybean plantings at 81.204 million acres. While that would be record-large, it's in line with other pre-report estimates and therefore, wasn't a shock to the market. Traders will "absorb" additional pre-report estimates ahead of USDA's Prospective Plantings Report next Monday.
Technical analysis: May soybean futures have staked out a broad, short-term trading range from the March 12 low of $13.65 1/2 to the contract high at $14.60. The eventual breakout from this range will very likely kick off the next strong price move.
Hedgers: 25% of expected 2014-crop is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold in the cash market on 2013-crop production.
Cash-only marketers: 25% of expected 2014-crop is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery. 90% priced on old-crop.
Price action: SRW wheat futures favored a weaker tone amid profit-taking and closed 4 to 6 1/4 cents lower through the March contract, with steady to marginal losses seen in deferred contracts. HRW wheat futures were narrowly mixed on the closed and HRS ended mostly steady.
Fundamental analysis: Without fresh news for the market to digest today, traders turned their focus to evening positions ahead of Monday's key Prospective Plantings and Grain Stocks Reports. That resulted in weakness in the SRW wheat market, while concerns about the lingering Southern Plains drought limited pressure on HRW futures.
Traders continue to monitor tensions in Ukraine, but without new developments and indications from the region that export shipments appear to be "normal," traders put this issue on the sidelines (but only for the time being).
Technical analysis: May SRW wheat futures posted an inside day down on the daily chart, remaining in the upper half of yesterday's wide trading range. The low-range close gives bears a slight advantage heading into overnight hours, but with the uptrend still intact, traders could view today's losses as a buying opportunity.
Hedgers: 50% of expected 2014-crop is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold on 2013-crop.
Cash-only marketers: 90% sold on old-crop. 50% of expected 2014-crop is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery.
Price action: Traders viewed yesterday's sharp losses as a buying opportunity and cotton futures extended gains into the close, with May and July ending 348 and 299 points higher, respectively. October through May futures ended 51 to 101 points higher, with far deferreds ending 27 to 41 points higher.
Fundamental analysis: Ideas yesterday's losses were overdone provided early support, with additional support coming from USDA's Cotton Ginnings Report, that showed U.S. cotton ginners processed 12.87 million bales of cotton this season. Traders say the figure signals USDA has overestimated the crop.
Futures were also supported mid-morning by the updated acreage information from Informa Economics, as the firm trimmed its forecast for planted U.S. cotton acres, but still sees acreage climbing from year-ago levels (see "Evening Report" for more).
Technical analysis: May cotton futures posted a new-for-the-move high of 94.63 cents. The high-range close gives bulls the upper hand heading into overnight trade. How the market ends the week will be critical, as it's currently working on a weekly bullish reversal after prices took out the previous week's low yesterday.
December cotton is also friendly on the charts, but has yet to move above the mid-October high of 80.68 cents. Above that, key resistance is at the early October high of 81.44 cents.
Hedgers: 75% of 2013-crop is sold in the cash market. 25% of expected 2014-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery.
Cash-only marketers: 75% of 2013-crop is sold. 25% of expected 2014-crop production is forward sold for harvest delivery.