The Labor Department reports non-farm payrolls in March increased by just 88,000 for a little-changed unemployment rate of 7.6%. Investors had hoped the report would show 200,000 non-farm payrolls were added in March. Also concerning is that the labor-force participation rate fell to a 35-year low. The report is expected to weigh on the stock market this morning.
Corn futures have firmed to trade 1 to 4 cents higher on news of a new-crop corn purchase.
- Corn futures have firmed on news of a 120,000-MT corn purchase to an unknown destination for 2013-14.
- The sale signals new-crop corn prices have reached levels that are stimulating demand, although the corn market has a ways to go to rebuild the previous large export demand base it held in 2011-12.
- Gulf corn basis is steady for immediate delivery to stand 53 cents above May futures, with basis 5 cents firmer for August delivery to stand 70 cents over September futures.
Soybean futures are 5 to 12 cents lower, with nearby futures leading losses.
- Soybean futures are being pressured by news China has begun culling birds and has shut down a market in Shanghai amid concerns the H7N9 bird flu virus is spreading.
- While Chinese feed demand concerns are being overplayed in the marketplace, traders have little fresh positive news to factor into prices.
- Gulf soybean basis is steady this morning to stand 75 cents over May futures for immediate delivery. Traders only expect fill-in buying since the South American soybean shipping season has begun.
Chicago wheat futures are favoring a weaker tone, with Kansas City and Minneapolis mixed.
- The firmer tone in the corn market has helped wheat futures to turn mixed ahead of the start of open-outcry trade.
- But with little other fresh news for the market to digest, however, traders are also keeping an eye on outside markets. Weakness in the dollar index is also helping to limit losses.
- Traders remain concerned about the condition of the U.S. HRW wheat crop and expect Monday's report to show further deterioration in crop ratings after this week's rains were a disappointment.
Cattle futures are called mixed as traders even positions.
- Expected pressure on the U.S. stock market this morning due to investors' disappointment over the employment report this morning will make it difficult for cattle futures to attract fresh buyers.
- Concerns about the slow-moving economy further heighten worries about beef demand as the summer grilling season approaches.
- But pressure on nearby futures should be limited as April cattle ended yesterday at a slight discount to this week's $128 cash cattle trade.
- Strength in the corn market, if it lasts, will weigh on feeder cattle futures.
Hog futures are expected to start the day mixed as traders even positions ahead of the weekend.
- As stated in cattle, buying in lean hog futures will be difficult to generate after this morning's employment report that showed fewer jobs created last month than expected.
- The disappointing jobs report raises concerns about meat demand, although traders recognize pork prices remain competitive.
- The cash hog market is expected to be softer today as packers have seen profit margins erode this week.
- April lean hog futures ended yesterday at near a $3.50 premium to the cash index, which signals traders believe a near-term low has been posted.