Ag markets decidedly mixed Tuesday morning

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Corn futures followed beans higher Tuesday morning. The corn market seemed set to decline after bumping up against technical resistance Monday afternoon. However, hot South American weather and news of a sizeable U.S. soybean sale to China pushed yellow grain prices higher by late morning. March corn futures rose 0.25 cent to $4.28/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while May was unchanged at $4.3575/bushel.

News of a big Chinese purchase boosted the soy complex. The soy complex seemingly suffered a technical setback Monday night, but the slide was reversed by good Chinese news this morning. That is, the USDA announced the sale of 350,000 tonnes of beans to China, which obviously sparked sizeable bean and meal gains. The oil market remained relatively weak. March soybeans rallied 1.25 cents at $12.78/bushel late Tuesday morning, while March soyoil dropped 0.18 cents to 37.94 cents/pound, and March soymeal lifted $3.2 to $417.0/ton.

The wheat markets also seemed to rally in concert with beans. Monday night slippage suggests that worries about frost damage to U.S. wheat fields had diminished. Thus, the subsequent rebound looks to be largely driven by news of a big bean sale to China and its implications concerning export demand. March CBOT wheat futures gained 2.5 cents to $6.0825/bushel just before midday Tuesday, while March KCBT wheat futures advanced 4.75 cents to $6.4875, and March MWE futures surged 5.75 to $6.3625.

Cattle traders seemed to take profits this morning. Surging cash and wholesale prices have boosted cattle futures sharply since they broke out to the upside on December 27. Thus, it was somewhat surprising to see prices set back from overnight highs this morning. Still, given the size of the advance posted in the interim, a wave of profit-taking wasn’t entirely unexpected either. February cattle futures slid 0.07 cents to 136.75 cents/pound late Tuesday morning, while April futures skidded 0.02 to 136.90. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures edged up 0.10 cents to 168.20 cents/pound, but May slipped 0.10 to 169.62.

Hog traders were apparently exiting premium CME futures. Although a sizeable seasonal rise in cash prices is widely expected, hog traders seemed to be exiting bullish positions this morning. The cash and wholesale markets have very likely disappointed bulls lately, with the resulting quotes for the CME cash index apparently making nearby futures look overpriced. February hogs dove 1.10 cents to 85.52 cents/pound in late Tuesday-morning trading, while June tumbled 0.90 to 100.30.

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