Corn futures apparently benefited from traders taking profits on existing short positions ahead of the Wednesday morning USDA WASDE report. Given the size of the breakdown suffered in the wake of the March 28 Grain Stocks report, many in the industry view the market as being oversold. Others reportedly believe prices have reached levels where the yellow grain is a bargain. Firm cash prices supported such contentions. May corn climbed 9.75 cents to $6.4425/bushel late Tuesday afternoon, while December gained 8.25 cents to $5.405.
Firm cash prices reportedly boosted soybean futures Tuesday afternoon after reacting modestly to news indicating Oil World had warned that heavy rain following summer dryness could curtail the Argentine bean harvest. The looming Wednesday morning release of the monthly USDA WASDE report may also have discouraged traders from selling aggressively, especially after the late-March Grain Stocks report proved so bearish. May soybeans surged 15 cents to $13.955/bushel at its Tuesday close, while May soyoil added 0.42 cents to 49.98 cents/pound, and May meal edged $0.2 higher to $392.8/ton.
After rising substantially over the past week, wheat futures were mixed Tuesday. The Monday afternoon Crop Condition reports, which showed several winter wheat areas had enjoyed significant improvement last week, weighed upon prices. However, worries that the snowstorm now crossing Plains will damage the winter wheat crop boosted the Kansas City and Minneapolis markets. As with the other crop markets, wheat traders probably won’t be willing to push futures very far in either direction before the WASDE report Wednesday morning. May CBOT wheat futures slipped 3.75 cents to $7.0875/bushel late in the Tuesday trading session, while May KCBT wheat edged upward 1.5 cents to $7.465, and May MGE futures were unchanged at $7.9975.
The expiring April Live Cattle future rose Tuesday; again traders are apparently anticipating a short-term rise in cash values. However, the fact that beef cutout rose only slightly suggests bullish expectations may not be fulfilled in the near future. This seems especially true the winter storm moving across the Great Plains creates wet, cold conditions over the Northeast this weekend. Consumer demand for beef seems likely to remain rather depressed. June cattle dropped 0.32 cents to 121.70 cents/pound at its Tuesday settlement, while December dipped 0.07 cents to 128.47. May feeder cattle futures were unchanged at 144.75 cents/pound, and August lost 0.17 cents to 151.57.
Hog futures were mixed Tuesday, with the expiring April future outperforming its deferred counterparts. Reports of cash strength in the Western Corn Belt may have supported prices as well. Conversely, uncertainty about the wholesale outlook may be weighing upon the deferred contracts. The lightly traded May hog contract closed unchanged at 87.30 cents/pound Tuesday, while the June contract fell 0.70 cents to 89.85.
Cotton futures proved unable to sustain early gains Tuesday. The market seemed to attract significant short covering early in the day, but technical weakness and trader reluctance to become aggressive ahead of the WASDE report apparently dragged the market downward once again. The fact that the nearby May future fell below its 40 and 50-day moving averages Monday dealt a real blow to bulls hoping for a resumption of the winter rally. One has to wonder if this sets the market up for a bullish reaction to the Wednesday morning WASDE report. May cotton slipped 0.74 cents to 84.64 cents/pound late Tuesday morning, while December dipped 0.02 cents to 85.79.