Corn futures are called 2 to 4 cents higher, following overnight trade in that range. Light support is expected from outside markets as crude oil and gold traded higher overnight while the dollar index was lower. Gains will be limited by bearish export demand and the reduction in corn used for ethanol due to poor margins by ethanol producers. However, the fight for acreage is already becoming an issue and soybeans are expected to open strongly higher.



Soybean futures are called 15 to 16 cents higher. Overnight trade was 14 1/2 to 17 1/4 cents higher. Strength in gold and crude oil overnight and weakness in the dollar will provide some support. For soybeans, strong export demand is a fundamentally supportive factor as China remains a big customer. Argentina received some beneficial rainfall over the weekend in some areas, but dry conditions in northern Argentina and southern Brazil remains stressful for the soybean crop.



Wheat futures are called steady to mixed. Overnight CBOT trade was 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cents lower and the KCBT was 1/4 of a cent higher to 1 1/2 cents lower. Strength in corn and soybeans and light support from outside markets are expected to be countered by sluggish export demand. Profit-taking on the recent rally and expectations for small weekly export inspections will limit buying interest. Cold weather in the Plains has been a supportive factor although winterkill is expected to be limited and is hard to quantify at this time of year.



Cattle futures are called steady to mixed. The Cattle on Feed report was generally neutral. The number of cattle on feed was near trade expectations at down 6%. While November placements are down 5% from last year, they were larger than anticipated by the trade. However, the front end may find some support from a larger than expected November marketings number.



Lean hog futures are called steady to mixed. Cash markets are called steady to lower as packers have needs mostly covered for this week amid the slaughter slowdowns for Christmas. Pork cutouts were up 10 cents on Friday, but packer margins remain relatively tight. We look for choppy pre-holiday trade and also positioning ahead of the Hogs and Pigs report due out December 30.