What a Week!

April 2, 2009 07:00 PM

Julianne Johnston Pro Farmer Senior Markets Editor

From Pro Farmer

Updated as of 7:00 a.m. CT

What a week!... We promised volatile price action following the Prospective Plantings Report and that's what we got. The good news is prices are set to finish the week stronger than last week. Corn and soybean futures have -- so far -- have done some slight chart improvement, while wheat still needs to move above the March highs. How we finish the week depends on how comfortable traders are with positions as they head into the end of the first week of April.

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Opening calls. These calls originate more than three hours before the open -- use caution, things change:

Corn: Steady to 2 cents lower. Futures were weaker overnight on light profit-taking. Futures closed around 6 cents higher yesterday, which was a mid-range finish. The combination of a strong weekly export sales report and price-supportive outside markets resulted in solid buying interest in the corn pit. May corn closed above the psychological $4.00 level. Consecutive closes above $4.00 are needed to attract fresh buying interest.

Soybeans: Steady to 6 cents higher. Futures saw light spillover from yesterday's strong gains. Futures closed 21 to 25 cents higher, which was in the upper end of the day's range. Futures were supported by the strong weekly export sales report and help from outside markets. May soybeans penetrated resistance at the March high but closed just beneath that level. Next resistance lies at the February high of $10.11 3/4.

Wheat: Steady to 3 cents higher. Futures were firmer overnight. Futures opened slightly higher and sharply extended gains yesterday to finish near session highs, finishing around 20 cents higher. Wheat was supported by outside markets, especially weakness in the dollar since traders view current wheat prices as not competitive on the global market. This, combined with strength in the crude oil market and the Dow Jones Industrial Average returning above 8,000, resulted in widespread commodity buying.

Cash cattle expectations: Steady to higher trade expected. Packers and feedlots remained several dollars apart on bids and asking prices Thursday afternoon. Packers are still trying to get animals bought at $1 lower prices, while feedlots appear content to hold out for at least $1 higher prices. Most cash sources feel cash cattle prices will eventually come in higher than last week's $83 trade, although active cash trade in the Plains may not be seen until this afternoon.

Futures call: Mixed. Futures are called mixed on the possibility of profit-taking, but how outside markets perform will largely direct cattle. Futures gapped higher on the open and extended gains, but finished mid-range for the day. Live cattle closed $1.22 to $1.62 higher. Cattle were supported largely by outside markets, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average poked above 8,000, which attracted fresh buying to the cattle pit.

Cash hog expectations: Steady to weaker . The average pork cutout value firmed $1.13 Thursday in a correction to sharp price declines earlier in the week. But demand for cash hogs will remain light as most packers have this week's needs covered and are buying hogs for next week. Packers are also trying to improve negative margins. As a result, cash hog bids seen steady to weaker across the Midwest today.

Futures call: Mixed. Futures are called mixed as more choppy trade is expected into the weekend. But if outside markets are stronger, it should limit selling. Front-month hog futures are working on narrowing the premium they hold to the cash index. The index is projected up 15 cents to stand at $58.15 Friday. April hogs are trading at about a $1.50 premium to the index, which should be considered "in line."

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