Grain, livestock markets muddled on Tuesday

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Corn futures turned downward shortly after pit trading commenced Tuesday. Anticipation of a huge acreage estimate on the Thursday morning USDA Prospective Plantings report probably played a role in the drop, but traders allotted more blame to a recent surge in producer sales and weaker basis readings. We expect little volatility before the Thursday morning release of the USDA Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports. May corn fell 3.0 cents to $7.3025/bushel at its Tuesday settlement, while December slipped 1.0 cent to $5.71.

A report from Oil World apparently boosted the soybean complex Tuesday. They indicated that recent rain in Brazil and cold in Argentina had reduced soybean production prospects in those countries, with the sum of their predicted reductions reaching 2.2 million tonnes. Talk that soybean meal production will also decline during the coming months probably supported prices as well. May soybeans rallied 10.5 cents to $14.4775/bushel late in the Tuesday CBOT session, while May soyoil gained 0.44 cents to 50.82 cents/pound, while May meal edged $2.4 higher to $420.1/ton.

Some west Texas fields reportedly suffered frost damage over the weekend, which traders seemed interpret as the dominant impact of the weekend storm that hit the Midwest. Relative firmness in the deferred contracts suggests traders are leaning toward reduced spring wheat plantings on the USDA Prospective Plantings report due out Thursday morning. May CBOT wheat futures climbed 4.25 cents to $7.315/bushel at the end of the Tuesday trading session, while May KCBT wheat surged 9.5 cents to $7.685, and May MGE futures gained 5.25 cents to $8.105.

Cattle futures traded firmly Monday night in seeming anticipation of improving packing industry demand after Easter. However, those ideas were apparently dampened when pit trading began. The sizeable wholesale losses posted lately are not at all conducive to bullish ideas at this point. April cattle dipped 0.50 cents at 125.90 cents/pound at its Tuesday close, while August dropped 0.47 cents to 122.62. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures gained 0.20 cents to 138.60 cents/pound, whereas August declined 0.37 cents to 147.80.

CME lean hog futures followed through upon their Monday rebound Tuesday. Hopes for a seasonal price advance across the hog and pork complex seem well founded, especially when one considers the historical tendencies for seasonally reduced production and rampant grilling season demand during the second quarter. Still, spring futures are already trading at significant premiums to cash values, so sustained CME gains are not at all guaranteed. April hogs closed 1.02 cents higher, at 79.50 cents/pound Tuesday, while June gained 0.30 cents to 91.07.

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