Price action: Corn futures trimmed gains into the close to finish 1 1/2 to 4 3/4 cents higher. Deferred futures led gains amid modest bull spread unwinding.
Fundamental analysis: With many traders returning after taking an extended Thanksgiving break, they factored in Friday's better-than-expected weekly export sales tally. But as the day progressed, corn trimmed gains due to slight firmness in the U.S. dollar index and a disappointing weekly export inspections data.
Given the tightness of supplies, traders will continue to keep a close eye on demand due to the need to ration bushels. Therefore, corn futures will react quickly if there's signs of strong demand. But if demand wanes as prices rise, sustained buying interest will be limited.
Technical analysis: December corn futures saw trade above resistance at Friday's high and below support at Friday's low. In the end, the contract posted a mid-range close. Important resistance is marked at the top of the multi-month consolidation range at $7.76, with key support at the September low of $7.05.
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 closed 6 to 11 1/2 cents higher, which was mid-range in the January and March contracts, while deferred futures ended in the upper end of today's range.
Fundamental analysis: Soybean futures were supported by South American weather/crop concerns and demand news. But while these factors led to a firmer close, there's still some hesitancy on traders' part to actively throw money at the long side of the market.
South American weather concerns are mostly tied to excessive wetness and flooding in parts of Argentina, although that could actually lead to more soybean seedings if intended corn acres are reduced. In Brazil, dryness in some of the southern areas is a growing concerning as the rainfall pattern there has become sporadic. Meanwhile, conditions are generally favorable in the top production state of Mato Grosso.
On the demand front, USDA reported a 20,000 MT soyoil sale to unknown destinations for 2012-13. Since Nov. 14, USDA has announced daily soyoil sales of 188,000 MT to unknown destinations and China.
Technical analysis: January soybean futures continue to work off the recent low, but the move higher has done nothing more than correct the oversold condition thus far. The contract is still well short of a 25% retracement of the price plunge from the September high to the November low at $14.74 3/4 and the October low at $14.84, both of which must be cleared to confirm a low.
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 finished 6 to 7 cents higher in Kansas City, while Chicago and Minneapolis contracts were 1 to 5 cents higher.
Fundamental analysis: Wheat futures were primarily supported by dryness concerns in the Plains, which is why Kansas City futures led gains. But while the final crop rating of the fall this afternoon will show a crop in need of moisture this winter and next spring, price action signals traders aren't overly concerned at this stage.
Part of their reluctance to buy is tied to tepid export demand. Weekly export inspections were poor at just 7.838 million bushels. While Black Sea origin supplies are tightening, the U.S. still faces an uphill battle from a price-competitive standpoint.
Technical analysis: December wheat futures at all three exchanges continue to hold just above key support at the bottom of the respective extended, sideways ranges. Violation of this support could trigger sell stops, although dips below support has failed to uncover active stops in recent weeks.
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 ended 102 to 142 points higher, which was a high-range close.
Fundamental analysis: Cotton enjoyed spillover from the soybean market, as well as short-covering from ideas Friday's losses were overdone. With thin-volume trade expected through the holiday season, increased price volatility is possible.
Upside potential in the cotton pit was limited by a slightly negative tone in outside markets, including slight strength in the U.S. dollar index.
Technical analysis: December cotton futures posted an inside day up on the daily chart. Near-term boundaries are support at the November low of 69.03 cents and resistance at the November 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.