Ag futures diverged rather widely Thursday morning

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Corn futures dipped on improved weather forecasts Thursday morning. After turning downward in response to cooler, wetter Corn Belt forecasts, Wednesday, the yellow grain market continued sliding today. The losses were apparently mitigated by the weekly Export Sales report, which stated the latest new crop figure, at 1.59 million tonnes, above the highest industry forecast. September corn futures slid 2.75 cents to $5.3575/bushel late Thursday morning, while December fell 6.0 cents to $4.96.

Favorable weather forecasts also weighed upon the soy complex Thursday. Stable cash bids apparently robbed the old crop contracts of upward momentum, but the weather was rather clearly depressing the deferred contracts. Ultimately, the latest weather forecasts seem even more conducive to large Corn Belt crops than those posted earlier in the day, so traders were quick to adjust their positions. August soybean futures dropped 12.5 cents to $14.65/bushel around midsession Thursday, while August soyoil sagged 0.12 cents to 45.67 cents/pound and August soymeal slipped $3.8 to $465.3/ton.

Wheat futures mixed to lower around midsession Thursday. Traders remain optimistic about export prospects, but the weekly USDA Export Sales report, which stated the latest total at 996,700 tonnes, came in toward the lower end of pre-report estimates. Favorable Midwest and Plains forecasts are not encouraging bulls either. September CBOT wheat edged down 2.0 cents to $6.63/bushel just before lunchtime Thursday, while September KCBT wheat added 2.5 cents to $7.0525 and September MGE futures slipped 1.75 cents to $7.535.

Cattle futures rallied strongly in early Thursday trading. There was no particularly bullish news concerning the cattle market, so wire service reports were reduced to citing fund buying and short covering for the rise. Bulls could certainly cite the equity indexes and their surge to fresh records as well, since those usually imply strong consumer buying. August cattle surged 1.30 cents to 122.60 cents/pound around midday Thursday, while December lurched 1.05 cents higher to 128.97. August feeder futures leapt 1.47 cents to 152.45 cents/pound, while November advanced 0.90 cents to 158.05.

The hog market tried to follow cattle higher Thursday. After firming in overnight trading, the nearby contracts sustained the rise, whereas deferred futures sank. The fact that cash markets proved surprisingly firm Wednesday probably contributed to the rise, as did the premium now being carried by the CME cash index. But concurrent cattle gains very likely boosted swine values as well. August hog futures rallied 0.87 cents to 96.67 cents/pound in late-morning action, while December inched up 0.05 cents to 82.47.

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