The corn market and its various crop counterparts stalled in Monday night trading as the industry geared up for today’s big USDA reports. Futures fell rather sharply Monday in response to widespread early losses in the financial and energy markets, but futures held above their recent lows. Traders likely were unwilling to push prices to extremes prior to the reports. March corn futures slipped 0.5 cent to $3.5125 in early Tuesday trading, while May skidded 0.75 to $3.5675.              

Despite good export news to start the week, the soy complex moved lower in concert with the grain markets. As in corn and wheat, concerns about the global demand outlook amid falling equity index results are weighing heavily upon sentiment. Good weekend weather over South American fields didn’t help the bullish cause. As in the other crop markets, soybean and meal traders were apparently reluctant to test recent lows ahead of today’s big USDA reports, although soyoil followed the crude market lower. March soybean futures dipped 0.5 cent to $8.6075 Monday night, while Mar soyoil slumped 0.07 cents to 29.41 cents per pound, but March meal rose $0.4 to $270.3.              

The wheat markets gave back a major portion of last week’s late gains Monday. That probably reflected improved weekend rainfall in Argentina, as well as snow over a significant portion of winter wheat in the Black Sea region. The various contracts also failed at resistance associated with their 40-day moving averages, which was understandable with today’s important USDA reports, particularly the winter wheat seedings result looming today. Futures traded mixed to lower in overnight action asindustry participants squared positions ahead of the noon (EST) reports.  March CBOT edged 0.75 cent lower to $4.685 per bushel as Tuesday dawned over Chicago, while March KC wheat sagged 0.25 to $4.62, and March MWE inched up 0.25 cent to $4.935.

Last week’s soft cash prices bled over to the futures pressuring Monday’s trading in live cattle. Stronger Wholesale beef prices are keeping the futures from a steep dip. US beef packer margins reported Monday were at +$109.60 per head vs +$75.15 last Friday and -$11.90 a week ago. US beef cut outs remain firm to strong. Choice cuts jumped 2.97 to 235.17 along with Select cuts up 2.45 to 229.43. February live cattle fell 0.65 cents to 132.225 cents/pound Monday, while April futures dropped 0.77 cents to 133.50. March feeder cattle declined 0.53 cents to 156.80 cents/pound Monday, and April feeders fell 0.57 cents to 156.80.              

Commercial buying support held firm last week, thereby keeping hog futures from suffering big losses similar to those in the cattle complex. A major technical glitch depressed Smithfield kills Monday, which probably discouraged venturesome traders, as did flat-mixed cash and wholesale quotes. Weather will continue to have impact on livestock as fallingtemperatures will keep swine buildings closed up to retain heat reducing hogs to the market. Higher wholesale beef costs have grocers turning to pork as an alternative pushing demand back to the pork industry. Ultimately, the sustained cattle weakness, as well as the big breakdown suffered by the equity markets, seemed to exert considerable bearish influence over hog futures. The fact that the February contract closed below the 60-cent level was not a favorable development. February hog futures closed 0.15 cents/pound lower at 59.700 cents/pound Monday, while April hogs gained 0.25 cents to 65.475  cents/pound.              

Cotton futures traded quite firmly Monday, likely in response to ideas that concurrent US equity strength would overrule another round of big Chinese losses. Although nearby futures closed near their daily lows, they rebounded overnight. Fluctuating ideas about the economic outlook for China and for the world are very likely playing a major role in the cotton market, since apparel demand is quite sensitive to economic conditions. Traders in the cotton pit are no more eager than their various crop market counterparts to test extremes ahead of today’s big USDA reports. March cotton climbed 0.25 cents to 61.75 cents/pound early Tuesday morning, while May cotton rallied 0.30 to 62.26 cents/pound.