Corn futures are mostly 2 to 4 cents lower this morning.
- Traders are reluctant buyers ahead of what will be an extended break from the markets for some.
- Thin, pre-holiday trade is likely to limit market activity the remainder of the week. Traders are unlikely to add new positions ahead of Thanksgiving and some are taking an extended holiday break.
- The large 2013 corn crop is limiting the impact of rebuilding demand.
- Basis levels at interior locations are reportedly strengthening amid slow farmer sales and strong ethanol demand.
- A weaker U.S. dollar index is also helping to limit pressure.
- Timely rain and sunshine in Brazil and Argentina remind of favorable crop prospects to start the growing season there.
Soybean futures are 6 to 8 cents lower through the August contract with farther- deferred months 3 to 4 cents lower.
- Soybean futures are seeing profit-taking ahead of the holiday break. The market rose to test resistance at the top of the broad, choppy range late yesterday.
- A favorable start to the South American growing season adds pressure.
- The market is also weighing soybean sales cancellations of 300,000 MT of soybeans to China for 2013-14 against fresh daily sales of 360,000 MT of soybeans to an unknown destination for 2013-14.
- Gulf soybean basis is steady this morning, signaling supplies and demand are balanced.
SRW wheat futures are 4 to 6 cents lower while HRW is 3 to 5 cents lower and HRS wheat is posting losses of 1 to 4 cents.
- While USDA lowered the amount of wheat rated "good" to "excellent" by 1 percentage point yesterday, which translated to a 3-point drop for the HRW crop and a 2-point drop in the SRW condition ratings on Pro Farmer's 500-point Crop Condition Index, the market recognizes the crop is still in relatively good shape heading into dormancy.
- Losses in the corn and soybean markets are also making it tough for wheat to find buyers.
- Traders also remain hesitant to push wheat prices sharply higher as other rallies have slowed export demand for U.S. wheat.
- Weakness in the U.S. dollar index is helping limit selling pressure.
Live cattle futures are steady to slightly higher in early trade. Feeder cattle futures are also slightly higher.
- Traders are covering short positions as they wait for cash cattle trade to get underway. Typically, the Thanksgiving holiday spurs early- to mid-week trade.
- Sharp gains in the boxed beef market yesterday notably improved packer profit margins, though they remain in the red.
- Choice cuts surged $2.40 and Select jumped $1.46 yesterday, but the price gains slowed movement to just 135 loads.
- Considering heavier showlists estimates this week, movement must improve along with beef prices if feedlots are to get steady or better prices this week.
- Weaker corn prices are lifting the feeder cattle market, as is the slight discount the front-month contract holds to the cash index.
Lean hog futures are mixed with a downside bias this morning.
- Hog weights continue to set new records and pork production remains rapid.
- But uncertainty regarding the longer-term impact of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) continues to act as a floor beneath the hog market.
- The pork cutout value fell 67 cents to start the week, but movement was solid at 386.95 loads.
- Cash hog bids are steady to weaker across the Midwest today as packers are working with a holiday-shortened slaughter schedule this week and supplies are readily available. Packers are reportedly planning a large Saturday kill around 340,000 head -- more than double last weekend's tally, to make up for the downtime Thursday.
- Pre-holiday positioning is adding to the mixed tone.