Ag markets ended Thursday in mixed fashion

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Weather forecasts again weighed on corn prices Thursday. Although corn futures followed the bean market higher yesterday, bulls couldn’t sustain the upward momentum despite signs of potential technical support. Ultimately, favorable spring weather is pointing to a good fall harvest, which in turn is weighing on prices. July corn slumped 3.0 cents to $4.695/bushel at their Thursday close, and December lost 6.5 cents to $4.63.

The soy complex moved slightly higher Thursday. Wednesday’s news of sizeable bean sales seemed to sustain soybean and meal gains overnight and through today’s session as well. Asian palm oil weakness once again depressed the oil market, which probably weighed on beans somewhat. Strong demand is apparently the dominant soy factor at this juncture. July soybeans gained 1.25 cent to $14.99/bushel as CBOT pit trading ended Thursday, while July soyoil tumbled 0.22 cents to 39.41 cents/pound, and July soymeal skidded $0.1 to $498.4/ton.

The wheat markets also failed to sustain upward momentum. Reminders of the relatively poor nature of the U.S. winter wheat crop and ‘oversold’ technical readings on the futures charts sparked a Wednesday-night wheat bounce. However, bulls couldn’t sustain the move, with exchange prices reversing lower by late morning. Wire service reports blamed ongoing rainfall for the losses. July CBOT wheat futures fell 6.25 cents to $6.325/bushel late Thursday afternoon, while July KCBT wheat slid 5.5 cents to $7.305 and July MWE futures sagged 3.5 cents to $7.145.

This week’s modest cash losses triggered CME cattle buying. Although cash cattle traded mostly $1-$2 lower at $143/cwt earlier this week, CME futures turned decidedly higher today. Persistent beef strength is probably playing a role in the surge, but it’s rather clear that traders were looking for larger cash losses. June cattle surged 1.87 cents to 138.02 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, while December jumped 1.36 cents to 146.05. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle leapt 1.47 cents to 197.05 cents/pound, and October soared 1.75 to 198.40.

Hog futures staged a big late-session comeback. After futures bounced Wednesday night, poor late-morning quotes for the cash and wholesale markets reversed those gains. However, traders seemingly found cause for renewed optimism later in the day, since futures rebounded strongly from midsession lows. June hog futures closed just 0.25 cents lower at 114.30 cents/pound Thursday, while December sank 0.35 to 94.65.

Cotton futures apparently posted a technical bounce Thursday. Recent bearish developments sent cotton futures, particularly the new-crop contracts, sharply lower. The fact that they had reached technically oversold levels seemingly set the stage for today’s bounce, particularly with concurrent equity strength and U.S. dollar weakness favoring forthcoming demand. Whether the rise can be sustained is very much open to question. July cotton rebounded 1.28 cents to 86.15 cents/pound as ICE trading wound up Thursday, while December cotton climbed 0.66 to 78.38.



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