Ag markets are mixed again Thursday morning

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The grain and soy markets rose by varying degrees Wednesday night. Corn traders were once again searching for pertinent news last night, but seemingly found little. The market rose slightly, thereby possibly reflecting early position squaring in anticipation of today’s Export Sales reports and next Monday’s big Grain Stocks and Acreage releases. July corn inched up 1.5 cent to $4.425/bushel in early Thursday trading, while December added 1.25 to $4.4125.

Old-crop futures led the soy complex higher. As in the corn market, there news concerning the soybean situation was again sparse. Palm values rose in Asia, which supported soyoil futures, but July beans and meal led prices higher. One has to suspect traders don’t want to be heavily short if the USDA stocks figure proved comparatively small next Monday. July soybeans climbed 8.25 cents to $14.24/bushel Wednesday night, while July soyoil skidded 0.01 cents to 40.64 cents/pound, and July soymeal advanced $3.1 to $454.8/ton.

Traders may be covering shorts ahead of the looming reports. Despite weather with decidedly mixed implications for the production outlook, wheat futures have declined substantially over the past six weeks. Thus, traders probably hold larger short positions than they’re willing to carry through the forthcoming USDA reports. Thus, they also seem to be lightening up this morning. July CBOT wheat futures edged up 2.0 cents to $5.775/bushel shortly early Wednesday morning, while July KCBT wheat gained 1.25 cents to $7.1525, but July MWE futures slipped 0.75 to $6.73.

Cattle traders may be expecting cash strength. Soaring beef prices have powered the cattle markets higher this month, but seemingly ran out of upward momentum Wednesday. However, cattle futures sustained their latest advance last night, which probably reflects industry suspicions that packers will pay up for country cattle today or Friday. August cattle rallied 0.40 cents to 151.05 cents/pound as Thursday dawned over Chicago, while December lifted 0.45 to 155.00. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle jumped 1.37 cents to 213.50 cents/pound, and October vaulted 1.22 to 215.30.

The hog market is floundering ahead of tomorrow’s big report. Cash hog and wholesale pork values have risen sharply lately, but quotes at country markets in the western Corn Belt dipped yesterday. That may have concerned hog traders overnight, but they’re probably nervous about the potential results of the quarterly USDA Hogs & Pigs report coming out tomorrow afternoon. August hog futures slid 0.07 cents to 128.57 in early Thursday action, while December sank 0.30 cents to 95.80.

Cotton futures remained weak last night. Trading in the expiring July was nil Wednesday night, while the new-crop contracts posted modest losses. Wire service reports suggested yesterday’s big downward revision to first-quarter U.S. GDP is discouraging bulls, but we’re more inclined to blame current moisture conditions in Texas, which are probably the best they’ve been in several years. October cotton futures fell 0.58 cents to 74.32 cents/pound shortly after sunrise Thursday, while December cotton slumped 0.26 to 75.00.

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