Corn futures have firmed to post gains of 2 to 3 cents at midday.
- Traders have shifted back to the positive side as they ready positions for the weekend.
- Weakness in the U.S. dollar index favors market bulls, as does spillover from the wheat market.
- Traders are also encouraged by the March contract's ability to sustain buying above $4.40 and to hold above the 100-day moving average since Feb. 4.
- The corn market faced light pressure this morning on an increase in farmer sales this week, that has pressured basis at interior locations.
- Gulf corn basis is steady to a penny higher for near-term delivery, which could signal more demand news is ahead.
Soybean futures are narrowly mixed at midday, with most 2014 contracts posting gains.
- Early gains in the soybean market have given way to profit-taking.
- Plus, traders remain wary toward the long side of the market due to the likelihood China will cancel more U.S. soybean orders in the weeks ahead as Brazil is now shipping its record-large crop.
- Recent rains in southern Brazil have eased dryness concerns in the country for now.
- Countering this, however, is news China's Ministry of Commerce raised its February soybean import forecast from 3.42 MMT to 5 MMT.
- Pressure is also being limited by expectations the National Oilseed Processors Association's (NOPA) monthly crush report Tuesday will reflect a record-large soybean crush for January.
All three wheat flavors are posting gains ranging from 3 to 8 cents in most contracts.
- March and July SRW wheat futures have again moved above the psychological $6.00 level, while the May contract is testing that level. The March contract moved through the 50-day moving average today.
- Light support stems from ongoing drought concerns on the Central and Southern Plains, which has been reflected in state reports of crop deterioration. The outlook for the next week to 10 days is fairly dry for these regions.
- But on the other hand, buying interest is being limited by India's farm ministry forecast for a record wheat crop of 95.6 MMT this year, up from last year's 92.46 MMT crop.
Live cattle futures are slightly to moderately lower at midday. Feeder cattle futures are posting slight losses in most contracts.
- Light cash cattle trade got started at $142 in Kansas yesterday and a few more sales are taking place at that level in the state today. Similar prices are expected when active trade gets underway. The front-month is roughly $1 above this price.
- Light pressure stems from news packers have reportedly reduced kill rates due to deeply negative margins this week, as this could weigh on the cash market.
- Traders are also engaging in some profit-taking ahead of the weekend and after yesterday's impressive gains.
- This morning, the boxed beef market resumed its slide, with Choice cuts down 87 cents and Select down 46 cents. Of note, Select is now at a 7-cent premium to Choice. Movement was decent at 90 loads, however.
- Spillover from live cattle and profit-taking are keeping feeder cattle futures in negative territory. A number of contracts hit contract highs yesterday.
Lean hog futures continue to post slight to moderate gains.
- Cash hog bids are steady to higher today as some plants are short-bought and/or making up for weather disruptions earlier this week. Some plants will be closed Monday for the President's Day holiday.
- Wide packer profit margins are giving some incentive to bid aggressively for market-ready hog supplies as they look ahead to non-weather interrupted kill weeks ahead.
- The cash hog index continues to rise and stands at $85.87, which is still below February futures, which expires at noon CT today.
- Traders are brushing off a 32-cent decline in the pork cutout value this morning, as movement remains decent at 169.28 loads and prices are up over week-ago levels.