Price action: Corn futures faced pressure most of the session on a quietly traded day. Old-crop settled around 3 cents lower, while new-crop contracts finished around a penny lower.
Fundamental analysis: A late rally in soybeans and wheat helped corn futures move off their lows into the close, but otherwise, buying and selling interest were both relatively limited ahead of USDA's Prospective Plantings and Quarterly Grain Stocks Reports on Thursday. Talk about Argentine corn exports into the Southeastern U.S. and that the country may free up additional corn for export also gave bears an edge -- though none of this has been confirmed.
Expectations USDA will estimate plantings for 2013 basically in line with year-ago levels will make it tough for the market to get a bullish surprise on Thursday.
Technical analysis: May corn futures saw an inside day of trade and the contract remains within its uptrend since early March. Uptrending support drawn off the March lows intersects around $7.27 tomorrow. Nearby resistance is at last week's high of $7.34 1/2, followed by the February high of $7.47 1/2.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. No 2013-crop sales advised yet.
Cash-only marketers: 75% sold on 2012-crop, including 15% for May 2013 delivery. No 2013-crop sales recommended yet.
Price action: Soybean futures settled with gains of 9 to 10 1/2 cents through the September contract, while new-crop futures were around 7 cents higher. Futures finished high-range.
Fundamental analysis: Soybean futures were supported today by short-covering as traders position themselves for key USDA report data Thursday. But not all of the support was tied to pre-report positioning. Traders are anticipating a bullish March 1 soybean stocks figure as export and domestic demand were strong over the past quarter.
Also supportive is continued congestion at Brazilian ports. While the U.S. export season is winding down, shipping delays out of Brazil are likely to result in more near-term demand for U.S. soybeans.
Technical analysis: Initial resistance for May soybean futures is last week's high at $14.51 1/2. Clearing that level would open the door for a challenge of tough resistance in the $14.80 to $15.00 range. Key near-term support is at last week's low of $14.03.
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: Chicago wheat futures ended 2 1/4 to 4 1/4 cents higher. Kansas City wheat finished roughly 7 to 9 cents higher. Minneapolis wheat closed mostly around 5 cents higher.
Fundamental analysis: Pre-report positioning dominated price action in the wheat market today as traders prepare for Thursday's Prospective Plantings and Quarterly Grain Stocks Reports. Given heavy price pressure through early this month, traders are lightening short positions ahead of the reports.
Mild support came from the freeze event the past two nights in areas of the Central and Southern Plains, which allowed Kansas City futures to lead gains. But a lack of strong buying interest signals traders aren't overly concerned. If it was mid to late April, their concern level would have likely been greater.
Technical analysis: May Chicago wheat futures remain in the uptrend fom the early March low. The contract must clear last week's high at $7.36 3/4 and clear old support at the January low of $7.45 1/4 to signal an extended price correction is underway.
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 rebounded today, and while most contracts finished well off their daily highs, futures still ended with gains of 77 to 131 points.
Fundamental analysis: Cotton benefited from news China will continue to stockpile domestic cotton in 2013. As of Monday, the Chinese government has stockpiled 6.46 MMT of cotton, which is roughly 90% of China's harvest last year. This could increase import needs for textile mills, though China is expected to release government stocks next month to help these facilities. China has reportedly issued import quotas of 1 MT for every 3 MT a textile mill buys in domestic reserves.
Light support also comes from expectations USDA will peg cotton planted acreage at just 10.08 million, down 2.3 million acres from 2012, in its Prospective Plantings Report Thursday.
Technical analysis: May cotton futures have yet to give any sign that the most recent pullback is anything more than a correction. To do so, the contract would have to break through and close below the 38% retracement of the November to March rally at 85.21 cents. Near-term resistance is at the 25% retracement level of this move at 88.22 cents.
Hedgers: 100% sold on old-crop in the cash market. 25% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery.
Cash-only marketers: 85% sold on old-crop. 25% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery.