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Overnight highlights. Following are highlights of overnight trade and opening calls:
Corn: Mixed. Futures were narrowly mixed overnight, with nearbys favoring a firmer tone. Price action is muted as trader await this morning's monthly employment report. The report is expected to show the economy added 130,000 non-farm payrolls in January, resulting in a slight increase in unemployment to 8.6%. Meanwhile, yesterday's strong weekly export sales report remains on traders' minds, as it shows the need for some price rationing.
Soybeans: 5 to 8 cents higher. Futures were supported overnight by slightly positive outside markets. Traders are also keeping close tabs on the weather and are disappointed rains haven't been as widespread as forecast this week in Argentina and southern Brazil. More rains are in the forecast, but the area needs timely rains to maximize pod fill. Also, temps have been warmer this week again.
Wheat: 4 to 7 cents higher. Futures firmed overnight following yesterday's setback. Futures saw profit-taking yesterday, but firmed overnight as focus has returned to concerns about frigid temps in northern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Traders are also waiting on Russia's government to announce measures to slow grain exports from the country.
Live cattle: Weaker. Futures are called to open lower based on softer boxed beef prices. Choice values dropped $1.08 yesterday and Select was down 15 cents. The good news is movement has improved on the decline in prices, but it doesn't support steady to firmer cash cattle trade. Meanwhile, a blizzard warning is in effect for the Plains, which will disrupt marketings and could be supportive for futures.
Lean Hogs: Mixed. Futures are expected to be choppy this morning as traders even positions ahead of the weekend. There is still concern about packers' profit margins, as pork cutout values slipped 32 cents yesterday. But snow moving into the Midwest raises concerns about marketing disruptions. Cash hog bids are expected to be steady to weaker as packers work to improve profit margins, but bids could firm on concerns about supplies tightening due to weather.