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Overnight highlights. Following are highlights of overnight trade:
Corn: Steady to 2 cents higher. Futures were firmer overnight, with help coming from weakness in the U.S. dollar index. Yesterday's crop progress data came in about as expected, with USDA reporting 28% of the crop was planted as of Sunday. Progress remains swift in Illinois and Indiana, while Iowa lags the average pace with "just" 9% planted. Rains in the forecast this week and into next week in the western Corn Belt could start to raise concerns about the crop being planted by mid-May.
Soybeans: 6 to 8 cents higher. Futures were stronger overnight on help from positive outside markets as well as expectations for continued strong demand for tight U.S. supplies due to a smaller-than-hoped-for crop in South America. Price action could be choppy today as funds hold a large long positions, which has resulted in a more cautious approach.
Wheat: Steady to 3 cents higher. Futures were supported by spillover from neighboring pits as well as short-covering and dollar weakness. But upside potential will be limited today as rains across Europe are raising crop prospects there and the winter wheat crop in the U.S. is off to a better start than usual -- although it will need timely rains.
Live cattle: Steady to firmer. Futures are called to open firmer based on slight strength in the beef market to start the week. Following last week's sharp gains, Choice beef values improved 56 cents yesterday and Select rose 60 cents. Movement slowed down to 136 loads yesterday. This week's showlist is up in Nebraska and Kansas, but smaller in Texas.
Lean Hogs: Mixed. Futures are expected to be mixed this morning, with pressure limited by ideas the downside has been overdone. Meanwhile, pork cutout values slipped 68 cents yesterday, with just 40.75 loads changing hands yesterday. The cash hog market is expected to be mostly steady this morning, but with packers' profit margins well in the red, traders are hesitant to push futures to the upside too far.