Price action: Corn futures backed off session highs into the close and finished mostly 4 to 5 1/2 cents higher.
Fundamental analysis: Corn futures were supported by strength in the cash market, as Gulf basis was firmer again today. Recent strength in Gulf basis is reflective of tight supplies, an increase in demand amid Brazilian shipping delays and the fact that exporters are somewhat struggling to get corn in exportable position.
Buying interest was limited, however, as traders aren't eager to aggressively add new long positions ahead of Thanksgiving and given macro-economic concerns. Outside markets were generally price-negative today.
Technical analysis: December corn futures poked above the 40- and 50-day moving averages today, but were unable to find fresh buying above these levels and closed below them. Closing above these level would open the door to a fresh wave of technical buying.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market -- 90% for harvest delivery; 10% for March 2013 delivery. Also, Dec. $6.50 put options, which were purchased on 40% of 2012-crop for 31 1/2 cents, are held as a crop insurance hedge.
Cash-only marketers: 75% sold on 2012-crop -- 50% for harvest delivery; 10% for March 2013 delivery; and 15% for May 2013 delivery.
Price action: Soybean futures staged an impressive reversal after trading double-digit lower in early trade to ultimately settle 13 1/4 to 18 cents higher for the day.
Fundamental analysis: Dollar strength and heightened risk aversion initially encouraged profit-taking in soybean futures, but this gave way to bargain buying amid recent reminders that soybean demand remains strong and bean supplies are limited. China yesterday announced it would halt auctions of state soybean reserves, soyoil sales have recently picked up and Gulf basis levels surged this week amid shipping concerns due to low water levels on the Mississippi River. Bulls are hopeful Gulf basis strength also signals fresh export demand news lies ahead.
Technical analysis: January soybean futures have a long ways to go before the contract's technical posture will be improved. Resistance is layered from the October low of $14.84 to the psychologically significant $15.00 mark. Friday's low of $13.72 1/4 remains strong support.
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.
Price action: Wheat futures were choppy with a downside bias early, but firmed on spillover support from soybeans and finished mostly 1 to 3 cents higher at all three exchanges.
Fundamental analysis: Early weakness was tied to strength in the U.S. dollar index, as investors sought safe-haven investments due to ongoing concerns about the euro-zone debt crisis. But as soybean futures firmed, corn and wheat followed. Ongoing concerns about the HRW wheat crop were also behind gains, as yesterday's crop condition ratings showed further deterioration in the crop.
To move out of a follower's role, wheat needs a dose of fresh export demand news. Traders expect the U.S. to soon benefit from dwindling supplies from the Black Sea region, but a notable increase in export activity has not yet been seen.
Technical analysis: December Chicago wheat futures continue within the boundaries of the downtrending channel. Tomorrow, downtrending resistance intersects at $9.11 and downtrending support at $8.24.
Hedgers: 75% cash sold on 2012-crop in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 75% of 2012-crop production is sold.
Price action: Cotton futures started the day mixed but firmed and extended gains as soybean futures turned sharply higher. Cotton futures ended 49 to 70 points higher.
Fundamental analysis: Early gains were limited by strength in the U.S. dollar index. Concerns about the euro-zone triggered a general risk-off environment, although late-session firmness came as traders evened positions as many of them will take extended holiday breaks. Otherwise, there wasn't any fresh news for the cotton market to digest today.
Technical analysis: December cotton futures saw trade below support at yesterday's low, but firmed and posted a high-range close, giving bulls momentum for tomorrow's open. Near-term boundaries are support at the November low of 69.03 cents and resistance at last week's high of 74.63 cents.
Hedgers: 50% priced on expected 2012-crop production via cash forward contract for harvest delivery. A breakout from that range is needed to spark a trending move.
Cash-only marketers: 50% priced on expected 2012-crop production via forward contract for harvest delivery.