Corn futures ended higher Wednesday. Futures stabilized after Tuesday’s decline in response to USDA’s supply and demand update. Cash prices remain firm which is supportive to nearby futures contracts. Higher crude oil higher and weaker dollar were also positive. Rain forecast across the Corn Belt for the next several days will slow planting progress. However, lower soybean values held corn in check. May settled 1 1/4 cents higher at $6.36 and December was 3 1/4 cents higher at $5.46 3/4.
Soybean futures settled lower on Wednesday. This marked the third day in a row of lower closes for soybeans. Technical selling pressure accounted for the weakness. Managed futures funds were very bullish ahead of the April crop report and had established record levels of long open interest in soybeans. Soybeans didn’t hold onto the early gains made on Tuesday, a bearish technical signal. Some funds are now selling to lock in recent gains and are moving the money to other investment opportunities. May futures closed 4 cents lower at $14.22 while November dropped 5 3/4 cents at $13.59.
Wheat futures closed slightly higher Wednesday. Ideas that yesterday was overdone plus some recovery in the outside markets helped fuel buying in wheat today. While not thought to be extensive, it does appear overnight freeze damage did occur in isolated areas of soft red winter wheat states. Spring wheat traded at the MGE had the added support of new long-term weather forecasts for warmer and drier than normal conditions to persist in the Northern Plains through the remainder of spring. There are also reports of some freeze damage to European wheat as well, particularly in Germany. CBOT May was 2 1/4 cents higher at $6.28; KBOT May was 3 cents higher, at $6.44; and MGE May closed 4 1/2 cents higher at $8.38 1/4.
Cattle futures ended higher Wednesday. Futures action was choppy through midsession, trading both sides of unchanged. However, prices strengthened in the second half of the session as short covering and bottom picking gained momentum. Beef prices were mixed at midday, but the 50% lean trimmings market, which has been down sharply on the LFTB issue, has moved a little higher the past two days suggesting some support is finally coming into that market. June cattle futures settled 75 cents higher at $115.05 and August was also 75 cents higher at $118.05.
Lean hog futures closed sharply lower on Wednesday> Further declines in both cash hog prices and pork prices pressured hog futures on Wednesday. The pork cutout fell to its lowest level of the year and the May futures contract is more than $13 per cwt above the current cash hog price. Traders are hoping for signs of improvement in demand but none have surfaced. Even if cash hog prices turn higher the gains in nearby futures contract may be relatively modest. The May contract closed with a loss of 58 cents at $92.53. June was down 70 cents, settling at $92.65.