After the Bell: Positioning for USDA Reports

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Corn: Corn futures closed 5 1/2 to 7 1/2 cents higher through the May 2018 contract. The May 2017 contract led gains. Corn futures gathered strength today, lifting prices into the close. The bulk of the gains came on short-covering following last week's decline. Traders also evened positions ahead of the release of USDA's Supply & Demand Report tomorrow. News an unknown buyer bought 101,600 MT for 2016-17 delivery also supported prices.

Soybeans: Soybean futures finished fractionally on either side of unchanged and in the lower end of today's range. Soybean futures were firmer through overnight trade on support from heavy rains and flooding in parts of Argentina over the weekend. But buyer interest dried up during daytime trade, as traders realize South American production is record-large even if there are localized yield losses in Argentina.

Wheat: Winter wheat futures enjoyed gains for most of the day session and these markets settled near session highs with SRW up 4 3/4 to 5 1/2 cents and HRW up 3 1/2 to 4 cents. HRS wheat saw a choppy day of trade, but the market ended 1/4 to 1 cent higher. Gains in the corn market and a strong showing in today's weekly export inspections report lifted the wheat markets today. Shipments of 641,365 MT improved from the week prior and topped expectations.

Cotton: The front two cotton contracts posted bullish reversals today, dipping below Friday's low in early action but then posting strong gains of 134 to 169 points for the day. Deferred months posted lighter gains of 94 to 97 points. After Friday's downside breakout, the cotton market initially saw some followthrough selling. But that was short-lived. Traders were encouraged that an early drop below Friday's low for nearby contracts did not trigger sell stops and responded by covering short positions.

Cattle: Live cattle futures closed 42 1/2 cents to $1.05 higher with the lead April contract pacing gains. Futures tended to close low-range, however. Cattle futures gapped higher at the open on news China would remove some barriers on U.S. beef imports. But light wholesale movement and still-negative packer cutting margins prompted profit-taking after the strong open.

Hogs: April lean hog futures closed steady, while the May through August contracts were 35 to 80 cents higher. Hog futures were influenced by spillover from the cattle market, which encouraged light short-covering. However, buyer interest was limited, especially in nearby futures due to ongoing weakness in the cash hog market. Until the cash market signals a low, the upside will remain limited in lean hog futures.


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