Ag markets proved decidedly mixed at Thursday's close

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Corn barely sustained early Thursday gains. Talk of strong demand, particularly from the export sector, has supported corn futures lately. In fact, today’s Export Sales data again topped forecasts, which seemed bullish. However, news that exporters had cancelled sizeable sales to China apparently undercut the market. March corn closed 0.25 cent lower at $4.43/bushel Thursday, while May gained 1.0 to $4.485.

The soy complex posted impressive gains Thursday. Although the weekly Export Sales report stated the latest sales figure close to the lower end of the anticipated range, traders seemed to view the bean and product data as being quite supportive. Thus, beans and oil led the complex higher soon after the report’s release. March soybeans rallied 9.5 cents to $13.2575/bushel in late Thursday action, while March soyoil climbed 0.43 cents to 38.66 cents/pound, and March soymeal added $4.0 to $446.0/ton.

Winter wheat futures seemingly set back from technical resistance. Wheat futures have proven quite strongly lately, with concerns about U.S. winter wheat being a big driver of those gains. However, the Chicago and Kansas City markets reversed after apparently failing at moving average resistance. In contrast, worries about a spring wheat shortage if Canadian rail workers strike pushed nearby Minneapolis prices upward. March CBOT wheat futures dipped 6.75 cents to $5.8075/bushel at their Thursday settlement, while March KCBT wheat futures slid 2.5 cents to $6.4875, whereas March MWE futures surged 8.75 to $6.3825.

News of a packing plant fire seemed to weigh on cattle futures. After essentially stalling Wednesday night, cattle futures turned mixed today. News of a fire at a Nebraska packing plant owned by Cargill and falling beef quotes depressed prices around midsession, but the mid-year contracts closed higher. April cattle futures settled down 0.02 cents at 139.07 cents/pound Thursday, while August edged up 0.07 cents to 129.72. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle rebounded 0.07 cents to 167.00 cents/pound, and May added 0.25 to 168.57.

Hog futures set back from Wednesday’s big gains. Talk of Russia’s potential return to the U.S. pork market sent hog futures soaring yesterday, but CME prices set back today. That probably came in response to talk of dropping pork prices, especially after the midday cutout result came in sharply lower. April hogs fell 0.80 cents to 94.20 cents/pound as Thursday’s CME session ended, while June slumped 0.35 to 105.05.

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