AgriVisor Afternoon MarketWatch

Thursday, December 31, 2015
***** Corn futures finish fractionally lower; soybeans down 4 1/4 to 6 1/4 cents; Chicago wheat ends flat.  ***** 

   # Grains finished lower on one of the most lightly-traded sessions of the year. Mixed influence was given from outside markets with oil moderately firmer, dollar slightly higher, and stocks down sharply.            
   # The export sales report featured a big miss for soybeans.  At just 17.6 million bushels, new bookings were a third of what traders were expecting.  Corn and wheat sales were solid enough at 27.8 and 13.4, respectively.   
   # An export deal with China scrolled across the USDA’s daily reporting system.  119,000 metric tons (4.4 million bushels) will be delivered sometime in the current marketing year.    
   # Traders were taking profits on the major edible oils.  Soy, canola, and palm oil markets were weaker on the last day of the year.           
   # Growers across parts of Russia are glad to see some snowfall this week.  The snow will help provide some insulation for winter wheat fields that have been threatened by very cold temperatures recently.         
   # The forecast is mostly dry for a flooded Midwest over the next week, but chances for rain return late in the 6 to 10 day outlook.  Near St. Louis and south, the Mississippi River is still expected to crest above the 1993 record by Thursday night/Friday morning.           
   # After ending 2014 with bullish bets placed on the grains, fund traders will close out the current year with large net-shorts.  Managed money is an estimated net-short of about 95,000 contracts of corn, 45,000 soybeans, and 75,000 wheat.   
   # Stock traders were surprised by a miss on the weekly jobs report.  Jobless claims were up 20,000 last week to 287,000 versus expectations of 270,000.  The day’s market slide will stick the Dow Jones with a nominal loss for the year and is threatening small gains held by the S&P 500.    

***** Live cattle futures finished Thursday with the expiring December contract higher by $2.80 and the deferred months down fractionally; hogs trade down $0.27 to up $0.10. ***** 

   # Cattle traders were able to price in the bulk of a bullish shift in cash market sentiment on Wednesday and were content to sit on the sidelines during the year’s last trading session. Wholesale prices continued moving higher.     
   # More of the same for hogs with bull spreading and year-end positioning being the defining feature of Thursday’s trade.  Nearby futures held technical support. The curve enjoyed fundamental support from better pork prices.