Grains Start Week Strong

April 5, 2009 07:00 PM

Julianne Johnston Pro Farmer Senior Markets Editor

From Pro Farmer

Updated as of 7:00 a.m. CT

Grain futures stronger overnight... Grain futures started the week by posting solid gains in overnight trade. Futures were supported by last week's improved technical situation, as well as dollar weakness and strength in the crude oil market overnight. Key to holding early gains is if outside markets remain supportive.

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Opening calls. These calls originate more than three hours before the open -- use caution, things change:

Corn: 1 to 2 cents higher. Futures were slightly higher amid dollar weakness overnight. May corn finished last week above the $4.00 level to strengthen the technical outlook. The contract finished the week about 16 cents above last week's close. Help came from USDA's acreage report, worries about spring weather and outside markets. While USDA's acreage
estimate of 84.986 million came in above the average trade guess, it is about 1 million acres below last year.

Soybeans: 3 to 11 cents higher. Futures were higher overnight on help from strength in crude oil. May beans closed last week about 78 cents above the previous week's close last week. Momentum is strongly in favor of bulls to start the week. But fresh bullish news must develop or soybean futures will be at risk of profit-taking pressure as contracts are nearing key overhead resistance. Also this week, traders will have updated S&D estimates to get ready for and factor in.

Wheat: 5 to 8 cents higher. Futures were supported by neighboring pits and outside markets overnight. May Chicago wheat closed about 56 cents above the previous week's close last week. USDA will release its first crop ratings of the spring this afternoon, which will confirm crop deterioration over the winter. But by the end of the week, traders will be reminded of the bearish supply/demand situation in USDA's Supply & Demand Report.


Cash cattle expectations: Watching beef market. Cash cattle trade was reported at $85, which was up $2 from the previous week, Friday afternoon in the Plains. But traders will have to wait on official data from USDA today to see how many cattle traded, as the sales came late in the day and cash sources weren't sure of the actual volume of sales.

Futures call: Firmer. Futures are called to open firmer based on $2 higher cash cattle trade. Last week started by June cattle violating support to post a fresh low for the year. But the contract ended the week above the March high and $2.62 above the previous week's close and posted a $4.20 trading range for the week.

Cash hog expectations: Steady to firmer. Cash hog bids are expected to be steady to firmer across the Midwest today as packers are thought to need supplies early this week. While packer cutting margins are in the red, pork prices strengthened late last week and there are hopes for additional pork strength in coming weeks.

Futures call: Mixed. Futures finished last week sharply higher in all but the April contract which was "only" 60 cents higher. For the week, April hogs posted slight losses, while deferred contracts were higher.  Concerns with demand will limit buying in hog futures, especially spring-month contracts, this week unless pork prices firm and packer margins improve. Deferred contracts have a much better chance to build on last week's gains if there's widespread buying in the commodity world.

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