Ag markets posted divergent performances Wednesday

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Corn and beans set back from Tuesday’s highs. The crop markets posted impressive gains Tuesday, with the nearby contracts making multi-month highs. However, they apparently suffered from widespread profit-taking in Tuesday-night action and remained weak today, especially with some traders talking about improving weather next week. The EIA report wasn’t very helpful either. May corn sank 1.75 cents to $5.14/bushel Wednesday, while December slumped 3.0 cents to $5.0925.

The soy markets posted a mixed close Wednesday. Little fresh news concerning the soy complex emerged today, thereby leaving the CBOT markets vulnerable to profit-taking in the wake of Tuesday’s surge. Still, the fact that the expiring May future rallied on first notice day implies considerable cash tightness. New-crop weakness seemingly pointed in the opposite direction. May soybeans rallied 6.75 cents to $15.3075/bushel in late Wednesday trading, while May soyoil plummeted 0.89 cents to 41.88 cents/pound, but May soymeal bounced $4.0 to $503.9/ton.

Anecdotal crop tour results likely boosted wheat futures. Wheat futures were weak Tuesday night, but turned upward this morning. The rebound was probably sparked by reports from those on the Wheat Quality Council Tour indicating very poor harvest prospects for west-central Kansas. May CBOT wheat futures bounced 5.0 cents to $7.13/bushel at their Wednesday close, while May KCBT wheat futures surged 12.5 cents to $8.0975, and May MWE futures climbed 9.75 to $7.57.

Cattle futures were mixed Wednesday. Tuesday’s late wholesale news was decidedly mixed, with a sizeable rise in choice cutout being essentially matched by a drop in select values. That may partially explain the mixed nature of today’s CME action, especially with traders seeming uncertain about likely late-spring price direction. June cattle closed 0.17 cents higher at 137.20 cents/pound Wednesday, while December tumbled 0.40 cents to 141.97. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle gained 0.63 cents to 181.20 cents/pound, and August jumped 0.92 cents to 187.47.

Cash and wholesale weakness undercut hog futures. CME lean hog futures had held up well early this week as traders looked for seasonal strength to emerge. And while cash and pork quotes were firm early in the week and again at noon today, they proved very weak Tuesday afternoon; those losses apparently weighed heavily upon Chicago prices. June hog futures plunged 2.15 cents to 123.12 cents/pound Wednesday afternoon, while December fell 0.45 to 92.50.

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