Coffee Catches Bull Wave: Market Bits

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The July coffee contract price was popping 2.4% to $2.8365 a pound and July cocoa was rising 0.6% to $3,074 a metric ton on supply concerns and political unrest, respectively.

Cocoa popped on violent power struggles in the world's biggest cocoa producing country, the Ivory Coast, while coffee took off on lower-than-expected exports from Uganda, the second-largest African exporter. The Uganda Coffee Development Authority has lowered its export figure by 16% to 2.6 million bags in the year ending Sept. 30 from the previously expected 3.1 million bags, due to drought.

PFG Best analyst Robin Rosenberg said recently that ICE exchange (InterContinental Exchange) coffee stocks remain at low levels. "In fact they have decreased twenty eight months in a row."

Shares of coffee chain Starbucks ( SBUX) were rising 0.8% to $36.04, roaster Peet's Coffee & Tea ( PEET) was rising 1.2% to $47.17, K-Cup maker Green Mountain Coffee Roasters ( GMCR) was falling 1.5% to $65.82 and Maxwell House maker Kraft ( KFT) was adding 0.4% to $32.28.

Candy company Hershey ( HSY) was rising 0.5% to $56.59.

Despite reports of weakening fundamental support, cotton caught the wave of the commodities upswing Wednesday, before retreating.

July cotton futures bounced 1.1% to $1.88 a pound after settling in the red the day before. Later, it fell 0.7% to $1.842.

"Cotton is bouncing with the rest of the commodity sector," said FCStone Senior Risk Management Consultant Andy Ryan said earlier.

However, "the physical cotton world is still quiet according to many commercial traders."

Chinese cotton imports fell 15% year-over-year to 276,400 tons in March, said Reuters, citing a China National Cotton Reserves Corp. industry Web site. However, March imports rose 50%, or 92,200 tons from February, according to the report.

Various apparel companies were trading in positive territory.

Coach ( COH) was popping 3% to $53.66 and Hanesbrands ( HBI) was up 0.2% to $27.49.

(Published at 11:03 am)

Soybean futures were breaking a two-day losing streak as the weak dollar attracted buyers and the oil seed followed oil higher.

May soybeans were rising 0.8% to $13.39 ¾ a bushel, rebounding with oil. May light sweet crude oil was rising 0.5% to $106.81 a barrel.

The advance in soybeans occurred despite reports of abundant Brazil soy crops, demand pressure and a Goldman Sachs report recommending the closure of its "CCCP" basket trade consisting of copper, platinum, crude oil, cotton and soybeans.

Chinese commodity trade data shows that soybean imports fell 13% in March year-over-year to 3.5 million tons, but rose 51% month-over-month from the February low. China is now cancelling U.S. soybean cargoes as Chinese crushing mills suffer from diminished margins, according to reports.

Oilseed processor Bunge ( BG) was rising 0.4% to $72.02 in morning trading.

May corn futures were rising 0.7% to $7.57 ¾ a bushel and May wheat futures were 0.7% higher to $7.65 a bushel on expectations of a surge in Japanese grain imports, as Japan plays catch-up post-earthquake.

"While Japan's immediate commodity demand will likely slow, future imports may be considerably larger than what we have seen in the past," noted MaxYield Cooperative analyst Karl Setzer. "Not only will these imports cover grain that was lost in March's earthquake and tsunami, but meat products as well."

In a report, Setzer also wrote about risks of bacterial and fungal damage to stored grains as temperatures begin to rise.

Also lending support was the attraction of bargain hunters in the ethanol and livestock markets following Tuesday's corn futures drop, according to reports.

Grain transporter Archer Daniels Midland ( ADM) was rising 0.4% to $35.68, while ethanol producer BioFuel Energy ( BIOF) was falling 0.3% to 70 cents.

Food company General Mills ( GIS) was gaining 0.6% to $36.82. Meanwhile, plant nutrient producer Mosaic ( MOS) was up 0.2% to $76.85 and peer Agrium ( AGU) was flat at $89.20.

Meat processor Tyson Foods ( TSN) was falling 0.3% to $19.44.

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-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.

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