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Overnight highlights. Following are opening grain and livestock calls at 6:30 a.m. CT:
Corn: Mixed. Corn futures are favoring a mixed tone in firmer trade on spillover from soybean futures. But buying is being limited to short-covering as traders note that demand remains lackluster. Traders also expect much of the Corn Belt to benefit from a major snowstorm later this week, although much of the western Corn Belt still needs up to 9 inches of precip to erase the drought. The February break is usually in place at this time in the month, which is also aiding in traders' short-covering efforts.
Soybeans: 12 to 21 cents higher. Soybean futures gapped slightly higher on the open and have sharply extended gains due to disappointing rains over the weekend in Argentina and southern Brazil. Traders also expect Chinese buyers to return to the market as their Lunar New Year holiday is over. However, China has recently cancelled large amounts of U.S. soybean purchases as they anticipate Brazilian supplies to soon hit the market. March soybeans have moved above $14.50, but are currently trading just beneath it.
Wheat: Mixed. Soybean futures are mixed to be in line with price action in the corn pit this morning. While drought conditions in the U.S. Southern Plains remain a concern for the HRW wheat crop that is coming out of dormancy, demand news has been lacking recently. Wheat is also being pressured by news India is considering allowing private companies the ability to directly export up to 5 MMT of wheat from government stocks due to expectations of a large crop there.
Live cattle: Steady to higher. Futures are expected to see a lift from expectations for a winter storm to hit the western Corn Belt later this week. Cold temps today are also stressing animals and limiting weight gain, which traders view as positive. Meanwhile, traders will be keeping a close eye on the boxed beef market for signs the market is posting a seasonal low. Traders remain concerned that high prices are trimming demand for beef.
Lean hogs: Mixed. Futures are expected to see a choppy start, with pressure limited by concerns about winter weather later this week. But traders are hesitant to rebuild long positions given recent sharp pressure on the pork market. April lean hog futures, however, moved into oversold territory last week and are due for a corrective bounce, but due to packers working with negative margins, market bulls are more comfortable on the sidelines.