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Overnight highlights. Following are opening grain and livestock calls at 6:35 a.m. CT:
Corn: 1 to 2 cent higher. Futures have seen two-sided trade, but have firmed on help from a weaker dollar index. There's little fresh news for the market to digest this morning, which is resulting in choppy trade. March corn futures remain within the boundaries of last week's trading range, pivoting around $7.30. A move above $7.35 could trigger some buy stops.
Soybeans: Mixed. Following yesterday's strong gains, soybean futures are mixed. nearby futures are marginally to 3 cents higher, with new-crop futures 1 to 4 cents lower amid bull spreading. Traders continue to keep an eye on the weather, as there are concerns about hot and dry conditions in Argentina and southern Brazil. But favorable weather in northern Brazil is making up for crop stress in southern areas.
Wheat: Mixed. Wheat is favoring a firmer tone in mixed trade this morning, with pressure limited by a weaker dollar. Futures are also seeing light short-covering in following yesterday's weaker close that resulted in bearish reversals for some contracts. Traders remain concerned about dryness in the U.S. Southern Plains, but with the crop in dormancy, support from this is limited.
Live cattle: Mixed. Futures could see some pressure from yesterday's Cold Storage Report that showed frozen beef stocks above expectations. But focus should quickly shift to the strong start to the boxed beef market for the week. Choice beef values firmed 75 cents and Select rose $1.29 on very strong movement of 394 loads. This week's cattle showlist is smaller than last week, which gives feedlots more bargaining power -- especially if the beef market continues to strengthen.
Lean hogs: Mixed. Futures are called mixed, with pressure coming from larger-than-expected pork stocks in frozen storage vs. a strong start to the pork market for the week. Pork cutout values improved $1.23 to improve packers' profit margins, although they remain in the red. Cash sources say some packers are short bought for the week and will need to bid up for hogs, but others are working to improve margins. February lean hogs are trading in line with the cash index.