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Overnight highlights. Following are opening grain and livestock calls at 7:30 a.m. CT:
Corn: Narrowly mixed. May corn is marginally higher this morning and the rest of the market is marginally to a penny lower in lackluster trade. Tight old-crop stocks continue to be supportive for old-crop futures, although end-users are seeking alternatives to corn. Meanwhile, upside potential for new-crop futures is being limited by recent soil moisture improvements, although talk about planting delays associated with a more active weather pattern are also gaining some momentum.
Soybeans: Mixed. Bull spreading is being seen in the soybean market this morning, with nearbys around a penny higher and new-crop futures steady to a penny lower. Reports that soybeans at Brazil's Port of Paranagua moved to a discount to Chicago prices for the first time is raising expectations that demand for South American beans will soon be on the rise. However, another round of mini port strikes are scheduled for next week, which will keep shipping delays on traders' minds.
Wheat: 2 to 4 cents lower. Wheat futures are weaker on profit taking. The wheat market needs a dose of fresh demand news to support prices. May Chicago wheat returned to a premium to May corn futures this morning. Now traders are concerned that the slight premium structure wheat holds to corn will limit wheat's demand potential. Warmer weather in the Southern Plains is increasing the crop's need for moisture, which is limiting downside price risk.
Live cattle: Mixed. Futures are expected to be mixed as traders wait on cash cattle trade to begin. Expectations for higher cash trade is being downplayed after beef values softened yesterday. Choice values dropped $1.17 and Select declined by 87 cents on still-lackluster movement of 121 loads. April live cattle are trading in line with last week's $128 cash cattle trade.
Lean hogs: Steady to lower. Futures are expected to be pressured by concerns about pork demand, as pork cutout values slipped 90 cents yesterday -- further tightening packers' profit margins. As a result, the cash hog market is called steady to $1 lower to finish the week. Packers say they have had no difficulty securing this week's needs.