Market Snapshot, Noon CT -- (VIP) -- February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014 05:57 AM

Corn futures are trading 2 to 3 cents higher in narrow trade.

  • Corn futures moved to the plus side after opening slightly weaker.
  • Corn is gaining spillover strength from wheat as news is lacking today.
  • Traders are ignoring the stronger U.S. dollar today as they expect Friday's weekly export sales data to remind of strong demand. report.
  • Technical traders are paying close attention to today's action following yesterday's highest close since Oct. 25. The March contract is testing the air above $4.50, which is also above the November high. Heavy resistance sits above this area.
  • Gulf corn basis is 2 cents higher for immediate delivery at midday but 1 cent lower for March and April delivery, 2 cents lower for May delivery and steady for June and July delivery.

Soybean futures are 2 to 7 cents lower this morning on profit-taking.

  • Soybean futures are weaker as funds pocket profits following the three-week upswing in prices. March soybean futures have support at the $13.40 area -- the mid-December highs.
  • Traders are also looking at the stronger U.S. dollar index and forecasts for scattered rain for Brazil as additional reasons to evening positions this morning.
  • Some private crop estimates of late have indicated some drought-related crop damage has already occurred.
  • But, Abiove, Brazil's crushing industry group, raised its estimate of the country's soybean crop by 1 MMT to 88.6 MMT. This is contrary to the downturns offered by other crop watchers, but the figure is still below USDA's 90 MMT projection.
  • Selling interest is also being limited by the fact China has yet to make a major U.S. soybean order cancellation, though this is widely expected to occur eventually.
  • Gulf soybean basis is steady at midday.

Wheat futures are 2 cents to 5 cents higher across all three flavors in late-morning trade.

  • Strength in the U.S. dollar index encouraged light profit-taking at the opening of the day session. But recurring crop concerns and the lack of followthrough the slight setback at the open has futures moving higher.
  • Dry conditions in the Southern Plains have resulted in another three-percentage point increase in the amount of Texas winter wheat rated "poor" to "very poor" to 44%. In addition, temps in the 90s in some areas of Texas today are expected to further stress the crop.
  • Meanwhile, another winter storm event is expected to bring snow to the nation's midsection tomorrow. A recent warm-up has eroded snowcover in northern regions.
  • March SRW futures are trading above the $6.12 3/4 resistance, the 2014 highs. Traders are testing that area for buying support.
  • Gulf SRW and HRW wheat basis is steady in midday trading.

Live cattle futures are slightly higher in the February through August contracts and slightly weaker in the far-deferred contracts. Feeder cattle futures are also mixed.

  • Expectations for steady to higher cash trade this week has the front-month contracts edging higher. Light profit-taking after impressive gains Tuesday is dominating the far deferred contracts.
  • Strength in the boxed beef market has traders thinking a low may be in place. Choice beef rose 86 cents this morning while Select gained 73 cents. Movement is a moderate 93 loads and viewed as a positive as it came on a rise in prices.
  • Showlists are down this week and another winter storm event is expected to impact supplies in northern locations.
  • As a result, traders looks for steady to higher cash cattle trade relative to last week's $142 to $143 trade. Early asking prices are at $145 to $147.
  • April cattle futures have turned back on their test of the contract high at $143.20 set Jan. 22, so far.
  • Feeder cattle futures have turned back on light profit-taking as well after hitting new contract highs yesterday. Firming in the corn market late morning is also viewed as a negative.

Lean hog futures are slightly higher this morning.

  • Lean hog futures are finding support from the cash market. Packers are lifting their bids in an effort to book needs ahead of yet another winter storm event in the Midwest.
  • Saturday's kill is expected to be down 40,000 head from the week prior at 50,000 to 55,000 head due to recent transportation disruptions.
  • Average hog weights ticked up by 0.2 lb. the week ended Feb. 15. Head counts are up nearly 10,000 over week ago, however.
  • Packer cutout margins remain positive, but the pork cutout value dropped $1.54 this morning. Movement is an average 261.17 loads.
  • Futures are also finding support on news Russia will resume imports of U.S. pork in March.
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