Price action: Corn futures faced light pressure throughout the day and ended 4 to 5 cents lower through the September 2014 contract. Funds sold 4,000 corn contracts (20 million bu.) today.
Fundamental analysis: Action in the corn market today signals traders view weather concerns as factored into prices and that a new source of news will be needed to spur buying interest. They still expect the U.S. to produce a record-large corn crop, despite highly stressful late-season weather for a slow-developing crop. Light rain chances for a few areas of the Corn Belt added to the negative tone as did heavy spillover pressure from beans.
Meanwhile, heat moved back into the western Corn Belt today and the forecast lacks significant rain chances. This along with last week's heat wave is encouraging private crop watchers to lower their estimates. A Reuters poll of analysts today revealed an average yield guess of 153.985 bu. per acre. USDA in August estimated a national average yield of 154.4 bu. per acre.
Technical analysis: December corn futures continue to make their way toward support that is layered from the Aug. 23 low of $4.36 1/2 to the August low of $4.45 3/4.
Hedgers: 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market. 25% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery.
Cash-only marketers: 100% sold on old-crop. 25% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via forward contract for harvest delivery.
Price action: Soybean futures plunged at the opening of pit trade with November futures trading as much as 45 1/4 cents lower before traders took profits on the price dive and trimmed losses. The November contract closed 34 1/4 cents lower -- off the lows of the day but in the lower third of the day's trade.
Fundamental analysis: Traders shifted to the sell side of the market as USDA's crop conditions report showed "only" a 4-percentage-point decline in the percentage of the nation's crop rated "good" to "excellent." Traders also looked at weekend forecasts calling for slight chances of rain in eastern Iowa, northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin and decided to take profits on long positions. They ignored forecasts for a return to record heat over the western Corn Belt.
News China would auction more soybean from reserves the next few months raised concerns over potential export demand from that important country. A slight weakening in Gulf basis also had traders thinking the recent rise in soybean prices may be reducing export demand.
Technical analysis: Today's price plunge easily filled the gap left Tuesday by November soybeans and pressed prices into the gap area left Aug. 26. That gap area provides support down to its bottom at $12.88 1/4. Today's low at $13.41 1/2 provides initial support Thursday with the rough triple top around $14.09 offering resistance.
Hedgers: 50% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via a forward-price cash contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 50% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via a forward-price cash contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market.
Price action: SRW wheat futures ended narrowly mixed, while HRW and HRS futures finished steady to weaker in all but the lead-month September contracts.
Fundamental analysis: Wheat futures were pressured by weakness in corn throughout the session as wheat remains a follower market. But wheat was able to muster enough corrective buying interest late to produce a mixed close. Still, wheat needs a dose of bullish news or for the corn market to catch fire to spark active buying interest.
Demand remains an area of concern for wheat traders. While export demand has strengthened, the Black Sea region continues to get a good portion of the export business. Egypt's latest tender resulted in the purchase of Russian and Romanian wheat, signaling to traders that U.S. wheat is not competitively priced on the global market.
Technical analysis: December SRW futures are holding just above the contract low at $6.35 1/2. If that support is violated, the contract would be poised to move the next leg lower, with the next area of support at $6.23 on the weekly continuation chart and then the psychological $6.00 mark.
Hedgers: 50% of 2013-crop is sold in the cash market. 100% sold on of 2012-crop.
Cash-only marketers: 25% of 2013-crop is sold. 100% sold on 2012-crop.
Price action: Cotton futures settled narrowly mixed after favoring the upside much of the day.
Fundamental analysis: Cotton futures were initially boosted by a downturn in crop condition ratings in yesterday afternoon's update from USDA. But that triggered little more than modest short-covering, which faded by the close. The inability to hold onto early corrective gains signals attitudes have shifted to the bearish side.
The U.S. dollar index was weaker for much of today's session, which provided mild support. But cotton futures were unable to sustain gains into the close despite the weaker dollar.
Technical analysis: After a failed upside breakout attempt last month, December cotton futures have moved to the lower end of the extended, choppy trading range. Initial support is at last Friday's low of 82.43 cents and then the June low at 81.72 cents. A drop below the latter level would represent a downside breakout attempt and could trigger active sell stops.
Hedgers: 50% of expected 2013-crop production is hedged in December cotton futures at 83.87 cents. 50% of expected 2013-crop production is also sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold on 2012-crop in the cash market.
Cash-only marketers: 50% of expected 2013-crop production is sold via cash forward contract for harvest delivery. 100% sold on 2012-crop.