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By Staff | Jan 25, 2013

The death last week of popular newspaper columnist Dear Abby saddened millions of her fans around the world. Dear Abby, real name Pauline Phillips, was 94 years old. Phillips began her career in California in 1956 as Abigail Van Buren.

She quickly became known for her quick wit and humorous replies to questions that included the marital, the medical and sometimes both at once.

Like Paul Harvey used to say, “this is the rest of the story.”

Pauline was born the youngest of four sisters, as Pauline Ester Friedman in Sioux City on July 4, 1918. Her twin sister was born only 17 minutes prior to her. Her sister was Esther Pauline Friedman.

Little did her parents know at the time, both girls would go on to achieve worldwide fame as authors. Pauline’s sister was better known throughout the world as Ann Launders.

The twins attended Morningside College in Sioux City, where they both studied journalism and psychology and wrote a joint gossip column for the school paper.

In 1939, Pauline left college to marry a man named Morton Phillips, an heir to a liquor store fortune.

In a double ceremony, she was married along side her sister who wed Jules Lederer, a salesman who later founded Budget Rent a Car corporation.

If the sisters maiden name sounds familiar, Friedman was also the last name of Ray E. Friedman, who was also from Sioux City. While not close family members, the Friedman sisters were born in Sioux City near the same time as Ray Friedman.

Some long-term traders may recognize the Friedman name as Ray founded the once former futures clearing merchant giant, REFCO Inc. In fact, REFCO, stands for the Ray E. Friedman Co.

Friedman founded the company in Sioux City and grew the company into one of the largest brokerage companies in history. Friedman passed away in 2004 and REFCO fell into bankruptcy proceedings in 2005.


Corn closed the week $.18 3/4 higher. Last week, private exporters did not report any private sales.

In the weekly export sales report, corn sales shows 15.5 million bushels slated for 2012/13. This is above the 13.2 mb that is needed to stay on pace with the USDA forecasts of 950 mb.

Corn continues its climb after the monthly USDA supply/demand report with gains coming in the front months. I would expect this pattern to continue, with strength in the old crop coming from tighter-than-expected ending stocks and fund short-covering, while weakness will be seen in the new crop contracts as the trade is anticipating an increase in planted acres for 2013.

Last week, Informa estimated corn acreage for 2013 estimated at 99.3 million acres, up 277,000 from their previous estimate. That is 2.1 million acres above last year. The trade is well aware that with that many acres being planted and a normal growing season, new crop prices will plummet.

Strategy and outlook: Producers are now 80 percent of 2012/13 crop and are also 40 percent sold of the 2013/14 crop. Re-owned 50 percent of the 2012/13 corn crop with July calls.


Soybeans closed the week $.56 higher from last week.

Last week, private exporters announced a sale of 120,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans to China and 240,000 mt of soybeans to an unknown destination.

In the weekly export sales report, soybean sales were 65.7 mb and a marketing year high. This is above the 6 mb that is needed to stay on pace with the current USDA forecast of 1.345 bb.

In the monthly NOPA crush report, NOPA crush for December was reported at 159.9 mb, which was 1.2 mb below the average trade guess, but still strong. The December crush number was 10 percent ahead of a year ago.

The soybean market surged last week with support from the monthly supply/demand report, a bullish COT report and dryness setting into parts of South America.

Weather in Brazil is generally favorable, however weather in Argentina has turned drier than desired and the market is beginning to realize that the crop estimates from Argentina will be the largest of the year.

Last week, Informa pegged planting intentions for 2013 at 78.8 million acres, 185,000 acres below their previous estimate.

Strategy and outlook: Producers are 80 percent sold of the 2012/13 production and are 40 percent sold of 2013/14. Re-own 50 percent of 2012/13 production with July soybean calls if July futures hit $13.50.

Brian Hoops is president and senior market analyst of Midwest Market Solutions Inc. Midwest Market Solutions is a full-service commodity brokerage and marketing advisory service, clearing through R.J. O’Brien. He can be contacted at 605-660-1155.

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