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Overnight highlights. Following are highlights of overnight trade and opening calls:
Corn: 1 to 3 cents lower. Futures were weaker overnight on slight strength in the U.S. dollar index. Spread unwinding with soybeans has kept corn in its sideways trading range. This comes despite concerns about the Argentina crop and the stronger-than-needed export pace. Also, the UN's Food and Ag Organization says it expects China to import about 4.5 million metric tons of corn during 2012 -- 3.5 million more than last year due to rising feed needs.
Soybeans: 1 to 3 cents higher. Futures extended yesterday's gains overnight due to concerns about South American weather. Hot, dry weather is stressing pod-filling soybeans across Rio Grande do Sul and southern Parana, while favorable weather is accelerating harvest in northern Parana and Mato Grosso. Soybean futures moved to fresh yearly lows yesterday and extended gains overnight. A high-range close today would be a bullish technical clue.
Wheat: 2 to 5 cents lower. Futures followed corn overnight, pressured by slight strength in the U.S. dollar index on news Moody's downgraded credit ratings for six European countries late Monday afternoon and warned ratings may be cut for three others. Following last week's losses, wheat has its work cut out if technicals are to improve. Some fresh demand news supported wheat yesterday, but more is needed as the outlook for global supplies is plentiful.
Live cattle: Mixed. Futures are expected to be mixed following yesterday's strong gains. Traders reacted to last week's mostly $1 higher cash cattle trade to move nearby futures in line with the market. As a result, traders are now in cash discovery mode for this week's trade. The boxed beef market got off to a solid start, with Choice values up 57 cents and Select up 9 on 184 loads changing hands.
Lean Hogs: Mixed. Futures are expected to be mixed, with upside potential limited by concerns about the cash hog market. Pork cutout values firmed 25 cents yesterday to improve packers' profit margins -- but they remain in the red. This is limiting demand for cash hogs. February hogs expire at noon today and April hogs are trading in line with the cash index.