What Traders are Talking About:
Overnight highlights: As of 6:15 a.m. CT, corn futures are narrowly mixed, soybeans are 4 to 12 cents higher and wheat futures are mixed with a slight upside bias. Based on overnight trade, grain and soy futures are expected to open with a mixed to firmer tone at 8:30 a.m. CT. Cattle futures are expected to open lower on followthrough selling, while hogs are seen opening mixed.
* Pray for Boston. My thoughts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday. As a father, I was especially touched by news that an innocent eight year old boy who was near the finish line to celebrate with his father at the completion of the race was killed. Fortunately, the dad got to hug his little boy right before the blast. Unfortunately, that moment of joy between a father and his young son was dashed in a matter of seconds by a cowardice act. Yesterday was a cruel reminder of how short life can be. Take a moment from your busy schedules today to hug those you love and tell them you love them.
* Corn planting pace predictably slow. USDA reported corn planting was only 2% complete as of Sunday, compared to 16% last year and 7% on average. A Reuters poll ahead of the report showed industry analysts expected corn planting to be 6% complete. Across the country's midsection, only Illinois (1%), Ohio (1%), Missouri (8%), Kansas (3%) and Kentucky (7%) have corn in the ground. Given another week of cold, wet conditions, very little (if any) planting progress will be reported next Monday, especially in key states. And it may be several weeks before planting picks up as the conditions are expected to remain cold and soil temps are well below levels needed for seed germination.
The long and short of it: A lack of buying interest overnight signals traders aren't overly concerned with the lack of planting progress at this point. Once the calendar flips to May, that could change.
* Wheat conditions show limited impact from freeze. USDA's weekly crop condition ratings showed a modest downtick over the past week. When the numbers are plugged into the weighted Pro Farmer Crop Condition Index (0 to 500 point scale), the HRW crop dropped another 2 points to 272, while the SRW crop improved 2 points to 373. For the HRW crop, CCI ratings for Kansas and Oklahoma declined, while Texas improved modestly over the past week. But eye witness accounts from areas of the Plains signal the damage is more severe than USDA's numbers currently reflect.
The long and short of it: Another freeze event is forecast for Thursday and Friday morning across areas of the Plains, suggesting the HRW crop is in line for another "hit."
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