Markets Remain on Edge, Await Fiscal Cliff

December 28, 2012 12:51 AM

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Overnight highlights. Following are opening grain and livestock calls at 6:50 a.m. CT:

Corn: 1 to 2 cents higher. Futures are benefiting from short-covering, but have backed off earlier highs as buying has subsided. With the U.S. dollar index firmer this morning, it will be difficult for bulls to regain their footing, especially with little fresh news for the markets to digest.

Soybeans: 3 to 7 cents higher. Futures have backed off session highs, but remain firmer amid short-covering. Upside potential is being limited as the fiscal cliff looms and due to dollar strength. Rains this week in areas of Brazil are also negative for soybean futures. Traders also expect this morning's weekly export sales data to show a dismal sales tally after China cancelled large soybean sales last week.

Wheat: 2 to 4 cents higher. Wheat futures are following neighboring pits, but buying is limited to short-covering due to a lack of fresh news, fiscal cliff worries and strength in the dollar. Wheat has done more technical chart damage this week, which points the market even lower near-term.

Live cattle: Mixed. Cash cattle trade got underway in Nebraska at $127 yesterday, which is up $1 from last week, but movement was light. Nearby futures are trading at nearly a $2 premium to cash, which is expected to weigh slightly on futures. Choice boxed beef prices rose 2 cents and Select was up 30 cents on solid movement. Traders will also be watching the stock market as investors remain on edge about the fiscal cliff.

Lean hogs: Mixed. Focus in the market will be on position squaring ahead of this afternoon's Hogs & Pigs Report, which is expected to show farrowing intentions down from year-ago levels, as well as most other major categories. But the cash hog market is in jeopardy of softening after pork cutout values slipped $1.14 yesterday to push packers' profit margins back into the red.


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