Ag markets posted divergent moves Wednesday

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Corn futures were firm Wednesday. Corn futures fluctuated around unchanged levels in early trading, then turned higher as Wednesday morning passed. Bulls were likely encouraged by the early morning announcement of a 120,000 sale to an unknown destination and by reports implying strong ethanol production. March corn futures closed 3.25 cents higher at $4.3925/bushel Wednesday afternoon, while May added 3.25 cents to $4.4775.

International news seems to support the soy complex. Soy prices bounced modestly from Tuesday losses Wednesday morning and gained ground as the day passed. That strength almost surely reflected news of a big South Korean meal tender, along with a reduced Chinese bean production figure from that country’s official sources. News of big Egyptian sunflower purchase may have boosted oil prices. January soybeans bounced 5.75 cents to $13.44/bushel at their Wednesday settlement, while January soyoil climbed 0.29 cents to 40.40 cents/pound, and January soymeal gained $0.6 to $438.9/ton.

Bargain hunting reportedly boosted wheat Wednesday afternoon. Wheat futures turned lower from overnight gains this morning, which very likely reflected news that U.S. grain had been shut out of a big Egyptian tender; that implied U.S. wheat is too expensive. However, price rebounded as Wednesday passed, with wire service sources citing widespread bargain hunting by bulls. March CBOT wheat futures rallied 2.0 cents to $6.4075/bushel as Wednesday’s trading ended, while March KCBT wheat futures edged up 0.5 cent to $6.8475, and March MWE futures bounced 0.5 to $6.685.

Cattle futures turned narrowly mixed Wednesday. Talk of increased short-term supplies and slipping beef prices reportedly depressed cattle futures Tuesday, whereas anticipation of tightening winter supplies is providing support. The two sides seemed to reach a standoff Wednesday, with the various contracts being quite mixed in late-day action. February cattle futures settled up 0.15 cents to 132.80 cents/pound Wednesday afternoon, with April slipping 0.02 cents to 133.82. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle crept up 0.12 cents to 165.67 cents/pound, but March feeders skidded 0.02 to 165.50.

Persistent cash weakness appears to depress hog futures. The hog/pork industry has been expecting a vigorous seasonal rally to start this month. However, cash prices turned downward late last week and continued sliding Monday and Tuesday. The disparity between the cash quotes and premium CME futures apparently prompting aggressive selling. February hog futures fell 0.95 cents to 87.77 cents/pound in late Wednesday action, while June tumbled 0.57 to 99.66.

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