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Overnight highlights. Following are highlights of overnight trade (as of 6:30 a.m. CT) and opening livestock calls:
Corn: 6 to 11 cents higher. Futures are seeing followthrough from yesterday's gains due to weather concerns as a heat dome sets up across the Corn Belt. Record temps are expected in many areas of the Corn Belt today, further reducing soil moisture reserves. Spotty showers are possible from western Nebraska into the Upper Midwest today, which if realized, would provide temporary relief. Traders are also preparing for tomorrow's key USDA reports and watching for results from the euro-zone economic summit.
Soybeans: 1 to 4 cents higher. Futures have been choppy overnight but are favoring a firmer tone due to weather concerns. As mentioned in corn, record heat across the Corn Belt will stress crops. While yield damage to soybeans can occur early in the season, traders realize August is the key month for soybeans, which is tempering traders' enthusiasm about record late-June temps. Also on traders' minds are tomorrow's reports, which are expected to show producers plan to plant more soybeans than indicated in March -- although the report will quickly be discounted due to double-crop planting worries (too dry in the eastern Corn Belt).
Wheat: Mixed. Chicago and Kansas City futures are slightly lower, while Minneapolis is firmer this morning. Wheat remains in a follower's role and if corn continues its early gains into the start of open outcry trade, look for wheat at all three exchanges to firm. Traders look for tomorrow's report to reflect the open planting season in the Northern Plains by showing more spring wheat acres than the March intentions report reflected. Wheat is also watching the U.S. dollar index, which has been choppy this morning as investors remain nervous about the EU summit.
Live cattle: Steady to firmer. Futures are expected to see a lift from strong beef movement. Choice beef values rose 19 cents and Select was up 10 cents yesterday, but movement improved to 216 loads to strongly suggest retailers will be featuring beef for Independence Day. Asking prices and bids still remain several dollars apart, suggesting cash trade will be delayed until Friday. Packers have seen margins improve this week, which has feedlots asking for higher prices.
Lean Hogs: Mixed. Futures are expected to see a mixed start, with some short-covering possible as traders work to narrow the sharp discount nearbys hold to the cash index. Packers have seen margins return to the black this week, which is expected to boost demand for cash supplies in the near-term. For now, though, packers' demand is limited as some have scaled back hours and plan around next week's holiday.