Ag markets ended Tuesday in confused fashion

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After spiking upward Monday in response to renewed concerns about U.S. planting delays during May, corn futures set back Tuesday. Some traders clearly thought the gains, particularly those by the old-crop contracts, were overdone, whereas others may simply think there is still adequate time to get the huge 2013 crop planted. U.S. dollar weakness probably limited losses. May corn settled 0.75 cents lower at $6.8325/bushel late Tuesday morning, while December slipped 2.75 cents to $5.5675.

Soybean futures also reversed to the downside Tuesday. Wire service reports suggested strong producer sales in response to the Monday surge and profit taking at the CBOT undercut prices. The potential for sustained delays to corn planting and an eventual switch of many acres to soybeans probably weighed upon deferred futures to some extent. May soybean futures gained 4.0 cents to $14.6775/bushel at its Tuesday close, while May soyoil slid 0.35 cents to 49.13 cents/pound; May soybean meal dipped $2.9 to $428.3/ton.

After getting off to a weak start Tuesday morning wheat futures surged upward around midsession. That very likely marked a reaction to early indications from the Wheat Quality Council tour that the Kansas winter wheat crop was not impressive. That is, the wheat in the best area of Northeast Kansas looked likely to average about 4 bu./ac. less than last year. Forecasts for snow and frost over some areas later this week probably boosted the market as well. May CBOT wheat futures jumped 11.25 cents to $7.2175/bushel as trading wound down Tuesday, while May KCBT wheat leapt 16.75 cents to $7.98 and May MGE futures rose 1.75 cents to $8.375.

The April live cattle contract surged as it expired at noon Tuesday, which seemingly boded well for the most-active June future. However, instead of sustaining its early gains in anticipation of forthcoming cash and wholesale gains, June suffered a substantial afternoon decline. That was not encouraging, especially when one considers its drop below support associated with its 40-day moving average (MA). June cattle ended the day having declined 0.65 cents to 121.90 cents/pound Tuesday, while December lost 0.72 cents to 127.35. May feeder cattle futures proved unable to capitalize upon concurrent grain/soy losses, falling 0.87 cents to 139.55 cents/pound at the Tuesday close, while August sank 0.97 cents to 148.90.

Continued cash and wholesale strength seemingly powered CME lean hog futures upward Tuesday. Predictions that the Monday quote for the CME cash equivalent price will jump 1.04 cents to 83.46 tomorrow apparently boosted the expiring May contract, while the deferred contracts anticipated sustained spring and summer strength. May hog futures jumped 0.80 cents to 90.10 cents/pound in late Tuesday trading, and the June contract rose 0.42 cents to 92.57.

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