Market Snapshot, 10:00 a.m. CT -- (VIP) -- February 20, 2014

February 20, 2014 04:03 AM

Corn futures are steady to fractionally higher on help from soybeans.

  • Corn futures traded slightly lower in mostly corrective action and on the stronger U.S. dollar index in the early going of the day session, but futures have edged higher on spillover from soybeans.
  • USDA's annual outlook conference is providing plenty of news, but most of the data presented in prepared releases are within trade expectations.
  • USDA says it looks for 2014 corn plantings to decline by 3.5% to 92 million acre, down from its previous baseline figure of 93.5 million acres. If achieved it would be the lowest total planted acres since 2011.
  • The weekly export sales report will be released on Friday due to the Monday holiday. Traders will be looking to a continuation of the strong demand pace in tomorrow's report.
  • March futures are finding buying support at the $4.50 area in early trading. That price level served as resistance previously.
  • Gulf corn basis is 2 cents higher for immediate delivery in early morning trading, hinting at continuing near-term demand. Basis is steady for all deferred months.

Soybean futures are 5 to 8 cents higher following a weaker start.

  • Soybean futures are favoring the plus side after slumping in mostly corrective trading earlier.
  • The stronger U.S. dollar index and USDA's projection of a 4% rise in 2014 planted soybean acreage contributed to the weaker start. However, much of USDA's projected rise in planted soybean acreage is already priced into the market.
  • In a prepared statement released before the market opened, USDA indicated it now looks for total 2014 soybean plantings to reach a record 79.5 million acres, up from USDA's prior estimate of 78 million acres.
  • Gulf soybean basis is steady for immediate delivery in early trading but 3 cents higher for March delivery and 2 cents for April delivery, suggesting some export demand in the works. Basis is steady for deferred delivery periods.

SRW futures are 4 to 6 cents lower, with HRW down 1 to 4 cents; HRS is marginally to 2 cents lower.

  • Mostly corrective trading action along with strength in the U.S. dollar index has wheat futures on the defensive this morning.
  • USDA's annual outlook conference underway in Washington has not provided the market with any surprises, as yet.
  • USDA pegs total 2014 wheat seedings at 55.5 million acres, down from its earlier estimate of 57 million acres.
  • Another winter storm with arctic temperatures is moving across winter wheat country, providing light support.
  • March SRW futures are testing support at the $6.12 area, a area of previous resistance.
  • Gulf SRW and HRW wheat basis is steady in morning trading.

Live cattle futures are mixed in early trading. Feeder cattle futures are also mixed with front-month contracts slightly higher and deferred contracts slightly lower.

  • Traders are on the buy side of nearby contracts as they continue to look for steady to higher cash trade this week.
  • A rise of nearly $6 in Choice boxed beef values the last week along with improved movement has traders thinking a low has been posted and higher prices are ahead.
  • The winter storm moving across the Midwest is bringing some light support for the market, as it will limit movement the remainder of the week.
  • Traders are also looking ahead to tomorrow's Cattle on Feed Report, which is expected to show On Feed at 96% of year-ago levels.
  • Traders also found USDA's projections offered at its annual outlook conference, while not a surprise, as supportive to cattle prices in general.
  • Feeder cattle futures are mixed on the firmer nearby live cattle futures, slightly weaker start in corn futures and confirmation from USDA's outlook conference of continuing tight supplies ahead..

Lean hog futures are slightly weaker this morning.

  • Lean hog futures gapped lower at the open as traders pocket profits after the recent strong upswing.
  • Weakness in the pork cutout also has traders somewhat defensive.
  • But packers continue to cut in the black and the winter storm moving across the Midwest will limit hog movement through the remainder of the week.
  • Offering support is trader concern over the lingering impacts of PEDV and USDA's annual outlook acknowledged the disease is likely to take a bite out of supplies this year.
  • The National Animal Health Laboratory Network's latest report shows the total number of new cases down from the previous week, but still at an elevated level.
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