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Overnight highlights. Following are highlights of overnight trade:
Corn: Mixed. Futures were mixed overnight, with old-crop futures firming late to trade steady to 3 cents higher following yesterday's late-session decline. The U.S. dollar index is stronger again this morning amid ongoing euro-zone recession worries, which pressured crude oil and gold overnight. But firming Gulf and country basis levels due to tight old-crop supplies is supportive for nearby contracts.
Soybeans: Mostly 2 to 5 cents lower. May beans are firmer this morning, but the rest of the market is mostly around 2 to 3 cents lower after yesterday's late-session decline. Traders reacted negatively to news from the CME Group released late in the session that it was raising margin requirements. Followthrough pressure overnight due to dollar strength didn't do any technical chart damage.
Wheat: 3 to 5 cents higher. Futures were firmer overnight on short-covering following yesterday's losses. Additional support came from the second day of the winter wheat tour, which showed more drought stress than expected. Day 2 brought an average yield of 43.7 bu. per acre, still better than last year's 33.4 Bu per acre. The Oklahoma Wheat Commission also released their crop estimate for the state at 39.6 Bu per acre. Scouts noted that more rain is needed in southern Kansas southward.
Live cattle: Mixed. Futures are expected to be mixed, with a possible upside bias given strong beef movement of 235 loads yesterday and a 71-cent increase in Choice beef values. Meanwhile, Select values were down 3 cents to widen the Choice/Select spread to $4.75 premium Choice. Traders are still waiting on active cash cattle trade and will also be watching a choppy U.S. stock market, as investors prepare for tomorrow's key jobs data.
Lean Hogs: Steady to firmer. Following yesterday's sharp decline, lean hog futures are due for a corrective bounce, as May hogs are now trading at a discount to the cash index. Still, upside potential will be limited by ongoing weakness in the cash hog market, as packers work to improve profit margins. Pork cutout values improved 69 cents yesterday to help improve margins, but more works needs to be done.