Markets Mixed, Await Data

Grain and soybean markets are mixed in quiet trading this morning as traders await a host of market reports this week that will guide future investment decisions.\r\n   Chief among them will be today’s release of the minutes from the latest Federal Open Market Committee meeting and Friday’s USDA year-end crop reports.  Today also marks the release of the ADP jobs survey and the Consumer Credit report.\r\n   Equities traders are cautious ahead of the FOMC minutes this afternoon.  They are expected to provide insight into the committee’s thinking about why the Fed’s bond-buying program was trimmed now and not later, Dow Jones Newswires said this morning.  \r\n   Having begun the tapering process, subsequent comments from Federal Reserve Presidents indicate it will take some significantly poor data to change the process, according to Dow Jones, which quoted Michael Turner, RBC Capital Markets’ currency strategist.\r\n   The US Dollar was slightly higher overnight but continues to search for direction.  Prices are up after a bullish piercing line was formed on candlestick charts Tuesday, according to  The formation suggests that a bottom could be forming. \r\n   Bullish Forex traders also are looking for the FOMC minutes to indicate further tapering of the economic stimulus is planned because as the Fed infuses less and less money into the economy, dollars will become more valuable.\r\n   But that could be a double-edged sword.  Higher dollars mean US goods become more expensive to foreign buyers, sending many to other markets for their needs.  This reduces demand for US goods and services and trims the economy, which hurts the dollar’s value.\r\n   Of the four USDA reports coming Friday, the most important will be the Quarterly Stocks Report for corn, said Paul Georgy, president of Allendale Inc., in his morning Wake Up Call.  The USDA may have trouble raising feed and residual use because of the harvest’s late start and because of thinner livestock and poultry herds.  Other market analysts also indicate they think yields and inventories could rise from November’s estimates.\r\n   Index fund rebalancing is expected to begin late today.  AgResource said they expect the funds will be focused on buying corn, picking up nearly 18,000 contracts per day over the next five trading sessions.  But it is not known how much pre-hedging of this purchase has been done by the banks.  ARC said in the past, these rebalancing efforts haven’t produced a lot of fireworks.\r\n   Soybeans could continue to see pressure as reports from Brazil continue to show record yields as the harvest gains speed.\r\n   The Polar Vortex appears to be headed back to the North Pole, but temperatures in many parts of the country remain in the deep freeze.  Transportation has been hindered with icing of the rivers, ice- and snow-bound airports and railroads and highways.  Transportation delays alone could have cost the US economy up to $5 billion, according to NBC News.\r\n   Cattle futures are doing some backing and filling, although feedlot managers expect cash prices this week to be steady to slightly higher because cold weather is delaying marketings and beef product prices are strong, Georgy said.\r\n   The USDA reported its choice beef cutout value at $207.31 per cwt up $1.77 on the day.  The select cutout value was pegged at $203.56, up $2.18.  The choice/select spread narrowed to $3.75, and there were 111 loads of fabricated product sold into the spot market.\r\n   The CME Feeder Cattle Index for the seven days ended Monday was $170.87, up $0.33.  The Jan feeder cattle futures contract settled Tuesday at $168.05, up $0.02.\r\n