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Overnight highlights. Following are highlights of overnight trade (as of 6:40 a.m. CT) and opening livestock calls:
Corn: 1 to 4 cents higher. Yesterday's crop condition report showed the crop deteriorated about as expected, with 24% of the crop rated "good" to "excellent" -- down two percentage points from last week. USDA now rates 48% "poor" to "very poor," compared to 45% last week. December corn inched to a fresh contract high of $8.20 1/2 overnight amid ongoing crop concerns as there's no meaningful rain in the near-term forecast.
Soybeans: 12 to 17 cents higher. Futures were supported overnight by ongoing weather concerns, with contracts moving closer to contract highs. Support is coming from a lack of moisture in the near-term forecast, as well as yesterday's condition ratings that showed continued deterioration in the crop. USDA rates 37% of soybeans in "poor" to "very poor" shape, compared to 35% last week. USDA now rates 29% of the crop in "good" to "excellent" shape -- down a like amount.
Wheat: 1 to 3 cents higher. Wheat has seen choppy trade, but has returned to post slight gains on spillover from support from corn. While focus is clearly on U.S. corn and soybean crop prospects, concerns about Russia and Australia continue to linger. Traders continue to monitor possible news out of Russia regarding an export ban. Meanwhile, USDA reports spring wheat harvest is 28% complete, which could result in building harvest-related hedge pressure.
Live cattle: Mixed. Futures were choppy yesterday and more of the same is expected today as traders wait on the cash market for direction. Meanwhile, the beef market is off to a solid start, with Choice values up 68 cents and Select up 75 cents yesterday on decent movement of 150 loads. This should help nearby futures maintain their premium to last week's $114 cash trade.
Lean Hogs: Mixed. Futures are expected to be mixed, with pressure limited by tightening market-ready supplies. But upside potential will be limited by concerns about the pork market. Pork values softened 36 cents yesterday to keep packers' profit margins in the red. Cash bids are expected to be mostly steady today.