Ag markets posted divergent moves again Thursday

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The Export Sales report discouraged corn traders. The USDA report indicated a disappointing total for old crop corn sales, although the new crop total easily topped forecasts. The former apparently grabbed the attention of traders, as indicated by subsequent CBOT weakness. Superlative growing conditions are encouraging bears. September corn dropped 4.75 cents to $3.57/bushel in late Thursday trading, while December lost 4.5 cents to $3.67.

Thursday’s late soy action proved surprisingly weak. The Export Sales report stated bean and meal totals in the upper end of or above trade forecasts. That probably explained late-morning strength as well as the old-crop leadership across the soy complex. However, bulls could sustain only a portion of the early momentum in the face of massive harvest forecasts. August soybean futures closed just 4.0 cents higher at $12.245/bushel Thursday, while November futures inched up 0.75 cent to $10.82. August soyoil bounced 0.06 cents to 36.11 cents/pound and August soymeal added $3.7 to $391.3/ton.

The wheat markets firmed Thursday afternoon. Wheat futures sagged on favorable weather news Wednesday night, but firmed after the Export Sales report posted a new-crop total well above expectations. Prices at the various exchanges were decidedly mixed at midday, but continued climbing as the close loomed. September CBOT wheat gained 3.0 cents to $5.3025/bushel as Thursday’s Chicago session ended, while September KC wheat ascended 8.75 cents to $6.2575/bushel, and September MWE wheat rose 3.25 cents to $6.16.

Outside factors apparently triggered Thursday’s break in cattle futures. There was little indication of weakness in the cash cattle or beef markets this morning, but that didn’t stop CME futures from dropping sharply as the day passed. Wire service sources blamed active profit taking and outside factors such as the combination of equity market weakness and dollar strength for spurring the selling. August live cattle dove 1.92 cents to 157.92 cents/pound in closing Thursday action, Thursday, while December plunged 1.82 cents to 158.10. Meanwhile, August feeder futures plummeted 2.35 cents to 220.67 cents/pound, and October feeders crashed 3.00 to 221.02.

Hog futures couldn’t sustain their Thursday morning bounce. Hog traders have anticipated big seasonal losses during the days and weeks ahead, but traders apparently decided that early-morning losses were overdone. CME prices rebounded to moderately higher levels, but sagged to general losses in afternoon trading. August hog futures dropped 1.02 cents to 118.02 cents/pound, while December dipped 0.27 cents to 94.17.

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