Ag markets proved surprisingly mixed Tuesday morning

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Unremarkable corn plantings may have undercut futures Monday night. Talk of delayed corn plantings has supported that market lately. However, the first weekly 2014 report issued Monday afternoon showed the plantings pace only slightly behind normal. That seemed to depress prices overnight. May corn dipped 2.75 cents to $5.0025/bushel early Tuesday morning, while December slid 1.75 to $5.0175.

The soy complex was mixed in overnight action. The Ukrainian situation and its implications for global crop markets may have played a role in supporting soybean futures last night, but the modest nature of concurrent wheat gains makes that doubtful. The reasons for last night’s soy action seem obscure, especially with soyoil values slipping in the face of palm gains. May soybeans rallied 8.25 cents to $14.845/bushel around sunrise Tuesday, while May soyoil sank 0.02 cents to 42.24 cents/pound, and May soymeal rose $4.6 to $483.7/ton.

The wheat markets proved surprisingly mixed as well. It still looks as if Russia moving to take over Ukraine during the days and weeks just ahead. Traders obviously worry about the possibility of disruptions to the winter wheat harvest, spring wheat plantings and exports in that region. Relatively cold, dry weather over the central U.S. looks bullish as well. Nevertheless, wheat futures were decidedly mixed early Tuesday morning. May CBOT wheat futures slipped 1.75 cents to $6.77/bushel Monday night, while May KCBT wheat futures dropped 4.5 cents to $7.375, while May MWE futures climbed 1.75 cents to $7.19.

Pragmatists and technicians seem to be battling in the cattle pit. The fact that cash cattle prices remained firm last week is probably encouraging pragmatic traders to buy deeply discounted CME futures. However, the fact that the most-active June contract has recently failed to push decisively above resistance associated with its 40-day moving average has likely spurred technical selling. June cattle futures skidded 0.22 cents to 135.67 cents/pound as Tuesday dawned over Chicago, while December slumped 0.35 to 139.92. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle tumbled 0.45 cents to 179.97 cents/pound, and August lost 0.27 to 182.50.

Weak wholesale prices may be depressing hog futures. Hog kills posted during the next 2-3 weeks are likely to fall far short of year-ago levels, thereby encouraging CME buying. Cash prices firmed Monday, but the pork markets proved rather weak. The latter development may have played a big role in undercutting Chicago prices last night. June hog futures fell 0.80 cents to 121.85 cents/pound in Monday night action, while December sagged 0.10 to 89.75.

Cotton futures are bumping up against chart resistance. News that Chinese officials sold only a modest portion of stockpiles in its latest auction seemed to slow the ongoing advance in fiber values last night. Meanwhile, minimal progress in U.S. plantings probably supported deferred ICE futures. The May future seemingly faces significant chart resistance at slightly higher levels. May cotton advanced 0.53 cents to 91.44 cents/pound in early Tuesday trading, while December cotton inched up 0.06 to 81.43.

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