Ag markets proved decidedly mixed again Thursday morning

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Corn futures reacted poorly to good export numbers. The latest corn figure on the weekly USDA Export Sales report came in toward the upper end of the forecast range, while shipments were huge. Futures reacted little despite big wheat gains, possibly due to formidable overhead resistance. Futures then turned downward just before lunchtime. May corn sagged 1.25 cents to $5.0225/bushel late Thursday morning, while December inched 0.25 lower to $5.0425.

The soy complex is decidedly mixed today. The soy industry apparently thinks the old-crop situation will ease as Chinese traders default on previous purchases and South American beans flow into the U.S. New-crop futures have slipped, which may reflect suspicions that delayed corn plantings will boost acreage planted to beans. Meal is up slightly, while oil has dipped. May soybeans slipped 3.25 cents to $14.6525/bushel as lunchtime loomed Thursday, while May soyoil skidded 0.10 cents to 42.40 cents/pound, but May soymeal edged up $0.1 to $478.2/ton.

Several factors seem to be powering the wheat markets higher. The simmering Black Sea situation has seemingly moved closer to a boil, which is probably boosting wheat prices. But bulls can also point to persistent dryness in the southern Plains and likely excessive rain and cold in the northern Plains. Canadian planting intentions seemed somewhat supportive as well. May CBOT wheat futures surged 11.75 cents to $6.8825/bushel in late Thursday morning action, while May KCBT wheat futures jumped 13.25 cents to $7.59, and May MWE futures leapt 12.5 to $7.3675.

Cattle futures were decidedly mixed late Thursday morning. Cattle traders are probably confused about likely market direction during the days and weeks ahead. For example, beef prices have risen this week, but they often decline late in the month. Cash prices are expected to drop sharply through spring, but futures have already anticipated major losses. June cattle futures gained 0.20 cents to 135.30 cents/pound around midsession Thursday, while December slumped 0.12 cents to 140.60. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle climbed 0.80 cents to 179.42 cents/pound, and August rallied 1.05 to 183.50.

Hog traders seemingly suspect Wednesday’s big gains were overdone. The hog market rallied sharply yesterday on ideas that midday cash and wholesale strength presaged a major seasonal advance. However, later reports haven’t been encouraging, which is seemingly causing bulls to have second thoughts. June hog futures tumbled 0.52 cents to 125.72 cents/pound late Thursday morning, while December dropped 0.52 to 90.50.

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