Corn: Corn futures mildly extended losses into the close to finish the day 2 to 3 cents lower. Fundamental analysis: Overnight gains gave way to fresh selling amid spreading with soybeans, which were firmer throughout the day. Traders' concerns about dry conditions into next week from Iowa eastward were offset by cooler temps, which are limiting crop stress. Early support also came from yesterday's one-point drop in corn rated in "good" to "excellent" shape, but traders are are beginning to even positions ahead of USDA's first survey-based crop estimate on Thursday morning.
Soybeans: Soybean futures settled 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cents higher through the March contract, which was in the lower end of today's range. Traders brushed aside USDA's one-point uptick in crop condition ratings Monday, choosing to instead focus on forecasts calling for limited rainfall chances for the Corn Belt over the 10-day period. The U.S. midday weather model increased rainfall chances for the far western Corn Belt Sunday through next Tuesday, but reduced chances for Aug. 15-19, with significant reductions in expected rainfall for the central Corn Belt.
Wheat: Winter wheat contracts ended mostly 6 to 7 cents lower. Spring wheat futures settled roughly 2 to nearly 5 cents higher. A turnaround in corn futures and the U.S. dollar weighed on winter wheat contracts today. After trading higher overnight, wheat futures turned lower during daytime trade as the corn market weakened and the U.S. dollar strengthened. With supportive news lacking, wheat was vulnerable to spillover influences. Spring wheat futures on the other hand were supported by expectations USDA will lower its crop estimate on Thursday.
Cotton: Cotton futures ended the day 21 to 69 points higher, with nearby contracts leading gains. Futures ended the day high-range. Early pressure gave way to fresh buying to keep the trend from the July low pointed up. Yesterday's one-point gain in "good" to "excellent" crop ratings was behind early price pressure. We're somewhat impressed traders viewed early selling as a buying opportunity given expectations for a large crop, especially with some timely rains in the forecast into week's end. But traders will be keeping a close watch on the weather, as rains are needed to ease crop stress from rising temps.
Cattle: Live cattle futures posted two-sided trade, but ended the day with losses of 27 1/2 to 52 1/2 cents, which was midrange for the day. Cattle futures favored a weaker tone today, although they benefited from short-covering at times. A firmer tone in the wholesale beef market provided some midday support, but then futures softened on news that cash cattle trade was occurring in the Iowa-southern Minnesota market between $115 and $116, which is down from week-ago.
Hogs: October lean hog futures settled 37 1/2 cents lower, while other contracts posted slight gains on the day. Traders further narrowed the discount futures hold to the cash index today, with the exception of the October contract that was pressured by spreading action. While traders expect cash hog bids to continue to soften seasonally into the fourth quarter, they sense some of the current discounts are too extreme.