Back-and-forth between Cavs and markets

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truck unloading corn
(Farm and Dairy file photo)

I can remember the commercial, but not what it was for. That’s the way it is for me, a lot. The man lives in Hawaii, although I don’t remember how I know that.

He gets out of bed and goes down to the kitchen for a drink. That’s how you know it is just a commercial — he does not go to the bathroom first. Then, he checks his computer or his phone, I forget which, to get the stock open.

I remember thinking how inconvenient it is to live in the wrong time zone if this is your job. I remember the idea that he was too obsessive, if he had to interrupt his sleep to find out about the markets.

Becoming obsessive

What I did not think was that I would become him. Last night I came upstairs after the NBA Game Five and detoured to my office. It was 12:20 a.m., but I couldn’t go to sleep without checking grain prices.

I knew that the prices bouncing around in my head would delay sleep, but I had to know what was going on in the market. We have an erratic rally not quite raging, and I wanted to know if, after a big day up, then a break to the close, if we were lower overnight.

This is the reality of trading grain these days. The prices change, with short breaks, all day and all night. This is the price the Chicago Board of Trade paid to compete with overseas markets-they trade all the time so that the foreign markets are not the competition that it looked like they could become.

There is, after all, something unseemly about trading 5,000 bushels of U.S. No. 2 corn on the Singapore market.

Back and forth

Last night my wife and I were jumping between the game and a Hallmark chick-flick, with the help of my DVR. I don’t do commercials anymore, unless one catches my eye.

Squeeze can’t understand why I like the car insurance commercial about the girl who named her car Brad. And, lately, I have paused the fast forward to check the woman who is maintaining her face and hiding her age with the help of Olay.

You know the one — only her concert T-Shirt gives away her age! This being a commercial, I am looking for clues that the actress is a lot younger than the woman portrayed.

Some things in this life are predictable, like Hallmark movies.

They show two or three new ones each Saturday, but the plot never changes. When the girl kisses her fiance or near-fiance on the cheek early on, you know he is not “the one.”

She is going to meet someone else while on a trip, probably a country boy who has financial troubles, but lives in a Hollywood writer’s idea of a farm house in the middle of nowhere.

They immediately fall into discord, so you know they are destined to marry.

Back to Cavs

Predicting the Cavs’ game is a little harder. For game five, you can bet that LBJ and Kyrie were going to have career games if that’s what it took to keep the series alive.

They did. Predicting game six is a little harder, even if they come back home to play. Predicting the grain market is impossible, and that is why I have to check the computer before I go to bed.

I just need a hint — will it be wildly lower in the morning? Will it just slip a little as the thin trading goes on overnight, then rally some more after the “biscuit break” in the morning? (That’s what the traders call the pause in trading between our 8:45 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.)

Make no bones about it — prices have moved sharply higher over the last few weeks, but the markets have never acted like a big move was coming. Prices moved in fits, higher, then lower, then much higher.

As they did so, we searched for reasons the price moves were happening, and wondered when it stopped. We are still looking for reasons, and still wondering.

The markets

Yesterday, June 13, we started the week by making new contract highs in corn and soybeans. December corn made the high at $4.46 3/4, then dropped hard to a close of $4.40, but still up nearly a dime for the day.

The new crop November soybeans made a new high at $11.86 1/4, but crashed to close at $11.59, down nearly four cents for the day. When I took my 12:20 a.m. peek, corn was down a nickel, and beans were down nearly 20 cents.

Looking for news

This is a market that looks for news to make new highs, then is worried there is no justification. This morning, June 14, early trading has moderated the drops, with corn down two and a half cents, and beans down nine cents.

I don’t know what the news or the news spin will be today. I know that, after the fact yesterday, we looked at Informa news that the soybean acres were maybe higher than expected and the corn acres reduced a little.

This makes sense, based on the weather, but actually smells like a reason hunted for the purpose of justification. We are seeing selling opportunities, but we don’t know where the top really is, or if summer weather gives us more reasons to move prices higher.

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Marlin Clark is an associate of Russell Consulting Group, with a local office in Williamsfield, Ohio. Comments are welcome at 440-363-1803.

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