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Before The Bell: Today's Crop Report; Asian Banks Overdone


Farmers get an idea of the best crops.

Morning Perspective: Today's Crops Report

According to FT, U.S. farmers will have a general idea of which crops to plant when the U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes it's Prospective Planting report today. The report, based on a survey of 86,000 farmers in the first two weeks of March, will provide insight into which crops will emerge as the favorites in a battle for this year's land. Some expect farmers to shift towards more soybeans and wheat production. Last year, the push for ethanol led farmers to rush to increase corn acreage by 20%, but analysts don't expect the same performance due to strong competition from other crops this year. For more, read Professor Ryan Krueger's How Expensive is the Food for Food?

From the Bull Pen: Professor Krueger said likely candidates to consider, amongst others, are Potash (POT) and Agrium (AGU); sell-stops can be placed below $148 and $60 respectively.

From the Bear Cave: Those that remain bearish can choose to short the agricultural ETF (DBA); buy-stops can be set above the 50-DMA ($39).

Asian Banks Overdone

According to Bloomberg, Merrill Lynch analyst Mark Matthews said the selling in banking stocks in Asia has been overdone. Matthews, head of equity strategy for the bank in the region, said that although banks are not in the same condition as prior to the credit crisis, the companies are in general "cash-rich" with lower exposure to mortgage-backed securities and collateralized debt than in the U.S. Further about 4% of bank credits in Asia are dollar-denominated. For context of the financial state in the U.S., read Minyan Peter's "A" Bottom or "The" Bottom?

From the Bull Pen: Among the companies Merrill favors is ICICI Bank (IBN); near-term stops can be set below recent lows ($38.84).

From the Bear Cave
: Those that remain bearish can choose to play the Ultrashort China 25 (FXP). The fund tracks twice the inverse performance of the China 25 Index. Sell-stops can be placed below $90.

For more ideas, see Minyanville's Spotlight Stocks.

Quick Check Around the World

Asian trading closed red with the Hang Seng -1.88%, Nikkei -2.30%, Sensex -4.44%, Taiwan -0.59% and Shanghai -3.00%.

A quick check of Europe finds the CAC -0.19%, DAX -0.78%, FTSE +0.10%

As of 8:30 AM EST, S&P futures are lower -2.40 points to 1316, and Nasdaq futures are up +1.50 points to 1781.

A Look At Commodities

Commodities are mixed. Crude oil is lower -0.43 to 105.19. Gold is up +5.60 to 936.20. Silver is higher +0.120 to 18.060, and copper is unchanged at 385.60.

The dollar index is higher +0.008 to 71.690.

On the Radar


9:45 Chicago Purchasing Manager: 46.5 cons
10:00 NAPM-Milwaukee: 53.0 Prior

Click here for the full trading radar.

Good luck Minyans! Have a great day!
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No positions in stocks mentioned.

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