Grains Start February on Strong Note

February 1, 2013 12:25 AM

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Overnight highlights. Following are opening grain and livestock calls at 6:25 a.m. CT:

Corn: 2 to 4 cents higher. Futures are stronger this morning on disappointing rainfall totals in Argentina, as some of the driest areas didn't receive much-needed rains. And, with little rain in the forecast for next week, traders are deciding to put some weather premium into the market this morning. Corn is working on a strong monthly close and starting the month on a strong note.

Soybeans: 4 to 14 cents higher. Futures are seeing a lift from weather concerns, as rainfall wasn't as widespread as hoped for across southern Brazil and Argentina, although more rain is expected across southern Brazil this weekend before it turns dry again next week. Soybean futures are working on strong weekly gains and appear headed for a test of the December highs.

Wheat: 2 to 4 cents higher. Wheat is benefiting from spillover from neighboring pits as well as weakness in the dollar index. Dry weather is also a concern in the Southern Plains, although with the crop in dormancy, this is taking a backseat to demand. Export demand has remained solid, but not strong enough to encourage bulls to extend long positions.

Live cattle: Mixed. Futures are expected to be choppy today, but should favor a firmer tone as traders focus on evening positions ahead of this afternoon's Cattle Inventory Report. The report is expected to reflect the smaller herd since 1952 and show that producers have not yet begun retaining heifers. Meanwhile, the beef market continues to weaken, with Choice values down $1.44 and Select down 77 cents yesterday on strong movement of 227 loads.

Lean hogs: Steady to lower. Futures are expected to be weaker this morning amid declining packer profit margins. Pork values slipped 42 cents yesterday, but movement improved to over 111 loads. Ribs and hams saw a sharp decline, but belly prices were stronger. The cash hog market is expected to be mostly steady, but traders expect the market to weaken next week as packers work to improve margins.


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