March 30th, 2012

Commodity Investing – The Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 commodities gained 0.9 percent to 690.1501 by 4:49 p.m. in London, and earlier gained the most since March 23. The UBS Bloomberg CMCI index of 26 raw materials was up 1.2 percent to 1603.961. In the GSCI, corn and wheat were up the most, at 5.9 percent and 5.3 percent, and feed cattle was down the most, at 0.8 percent.

GRAINS, OILSEEDS

Corn and wheat prices surged, and soybeans jumped the most since mid-January, after a government report signaled tighter U.S. crop supplies than analysts expected.

U.S. farmers will plant 73.9 million acres with soybeans this year, down 1.4 percent, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said in a report today. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg forecast 75.43 million acres. In a separate report, the USDA said corn inventories on March 1 fell 7.9 percent from a year earlier and were the lowest for that time of year since 2004, while wheat supplies fell 16 percent.

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March 30th, 2012

S&P 500 Futures – U.S. stocks rose, extending the biggest first-quarter advance since 1998 for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as stronger-than-forecast growth in consumer sentiment and spending bolstered optimism in the economy.

The S&P 500 gained 0.3 percent to 1,407.76 at 11:17 a.m. New York time. The gauge has rallied 12 percent since the end of 2011, gaining for a second straight quarter. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 50.36 points, or 0.4 percent, to 13,196.18 today. The Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.1 percent to 3,097.45 as a 19 percent rally since Dec. 30 put the gauge on pace for the best first-quarter since 1991. (CCMP)

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March 30th, 2012

Corn Futures – Corn inventories in the U.S., the world’s biggest grower and exporter, were down 7.9 percent on March 1 from a year earlier, the government said. Wheat supplies fell 16 percent, while soybeans reserves rose.

Corn stockpiles on March 1 totaled 6.009 billion bushels, down from 6.523 billion a year earlier and the lowest for that time of year since 2004, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a report. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey expected 6.16 billion, on average.

“It’s going to be a tight supply situation until farmers begin harvesting this year’s crops,” Marty Foreman, an economist for Doane Advisory Services Co. in St. Louis, said before the report. “We still need to grow a good crop this year to rebuild inventories.”

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March 30th, 2012

Euro Futures – The euro rose versus the dollar, heading for its biggest quarterly gain in a year, after European finance ministers agreed to boost an anti-debt-crisis firewall, adding confidence the region’s financial problems are abating.

The dollar fell against most of its major counterparts as stocks and commodities advanced, boosting demand for higher- yielding assets. The yen touched a three-week high against the dollar amid speculation companies are bringing home overseas earnings before the fiscal year ends tomorrow. Sweden’s krona extended a weekly gain as investors pared bets the central bank will cut interest rates.

“The finance ministers came out and did what they were supposed to,” said Brian Kim, a currency strategist in Stamford, Connecticut, at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc. “It’s a really right, constructive range for the euro.”

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March 30th, 2012

Commodity Brokers – Copper traders are the most bearish in two months after stockpiles tracked by the biggest metals bourse rose for the first time in five weeks and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its recommendation on commodities to neutral.

Eleven of 25 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect copper to drop next week, the highest proportion since Jan. 6. Seven were neutral. Inventories reported by the London Metal Exchange rose 1.4 percent on March 27, the first gain since Feb. 22. They retreated the following two days and rose again today. Reserves in Shanghai’s bonded warehouses tripled since November and any strengthening in demand next quarter may be “tepid,” Barclays Capital said in a report March 28.

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March 28th, 2012

U.S. natural gas futures ended down Wednesday, with April hitting a 10-year spot low before expiration as record-high supplies, mild weather forecasts and expectations for a sizable inventory build on Thursday undercut prices for the third straight session.

Record-high temperatures in March have slowed heating demand and helped drive gas prices down 16 per cent so far this month, particularly with production running at or near all-time highs and inventories still at a record high for this time.

Front-month April gas futures NG-FT on the New York Mercantile Exchange expired down 1.7 cents at $2.191 (U.S.) per million British thermal units after slipping early to $2.163, the lowest for the lead month since February 2002.

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March 28th, 2012

Coffee futures may gain if the weather in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, remains dry “in coming months,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) said.

The commodity has fallen 18 percent so far this year in New York as traders sold the beans in anticipation of a large Brazilian crop. Growers in the South American country may harvest a record 49 million to 52.3 million bags in the 2012-13 season starting in July as trees enter the higher-yielding half of a two-year cycle, exceeding the high of 48.5 million bags in 2002, the government estimates. A bag of coffee weighs 60 kilograms (132 pounds).

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March 29th, 2012

Gold Futures – UBS AG (UBSN) cut its full-year gold forecast 18 percent to $1,680 an ounce, citing evidence of a U.S. economic recovery and decline in expectations that the Federal Reserve will add further stimulus.

The revision compared with an earlier estimate of $2,050 an ounce, a target described as “aggressive,” analysts including Edel Tully and Julien Garran wrote in a report dated yesterday. UBS cut one- and three-month targets for gold earlier this month.

The outlook from the Zurich-based lender is less bullish than that from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), which forecasts higher gold prices over three, six and 12 months as there will be additional easing from the U.S. central bank. Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke has said the recovery in the U.S. isn’t assured.

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March 28th, 2012

Crude oil fell for the first time in four days after U.S. stockpiles climbed to the highest level in almost seven months and on speculation that Western countries may tap emergency reserves.

Crude oil futures dropped as much as 1.8 percent after the American Petroleum Institute said late yesterday that supplies jumped 3.6 million barrels. The Energy Department will show a 2.55 million- barrel gain today, according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. French Industry Minister Eric Besson said the U.S. proposed releasing oil from strategic reserves to curb prices.

“People are preparing for some more bearish inventory numbers today,” said Phil Flynn, vice president of research at PFGBest in Chicago. “There’s also more talk of a release of strategic reserves. If you are a bull, you have to be on guard for such a step.”

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March 26th, 2012

Gasoline futures advanced to the highest level in 10 months after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said accommodative monetary policy is needed for the unemployment rate to continue to decline.

Gasoline futures rose as Bernanke, in a speech today in Arlington, Virginia, said “further significant labor market improvements will likely require a more-rapid expansion of production and demand from consumers and businesses, a process that can be supported by continued accommodative policies.” The U.S. unemployment rate held at a three-year low of 8.3 percent in February, according to Labor Department data.

“It’s clear they’re keeping the low-interest rate policy,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

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