Corn market the exception to the bullish rule Tuesday

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Corn futures struggled around critical chart levels Tuesday. The corn market obviously responded well to last Friday’s supportive USDA data, but futures were under pressure today. Surplus U.S. conditions and recent declines in ethanol and distillers grains seemed to weigh upon prices. The outlook may depend upon nearby futures’ ability to hold above critical moving average support. March corn futures slid 3.0 cents to $4.315/bushel at Tuesday’s close, while May lost 3.0 to $4.395/bushel.

Argentine weather news appeared to boost the soy complex. Soybeans and meal rallied Monday in response to good export news, but today’s follow-through rise reportedly marked a response to talk of minimal weekend rains over Argentina’s main soy growing area, as well as current hot temperatures in that region. Asian palm weakness kept pressure on oil values. March soybeans rallied 12.75 cents to $13.07/bushel Tuesday, while March soyoil skidded 0.08 cents to 37.76 cents/pound, whereas March soymeal gained $8.2 to $430.1/ton.

The wheat markets belatedly followed beans higher Tuesday. Although wheat prices rallied modestly Monday, they slipped back toward three-year lows this morning. However, they later followed soybeans higher, especially after traders started talking about emerging dryness across the Southern Plains. March CBOT wheat futures bounced 5.75 cent to $5.7925/bushel at their Tuesday settlement, while March KCBT wheat futures jumped 12.25 cents to $6.32, and March MWE futures gained 3.25 to $6.21.

Cattle futures may have broken out to the upside Tuesday. CME cattle prices seemingly have every reason to surge to fresh highs, because cash cattle and wholesale beef markets have already done so. Indeed, beef prices hit new all-time records at midday. Continued strength seems likely to spark a larger CME advance, but bulls proved unable to make a decisive move before the close. February cattle futures soared 1.05 cents to 137.65 cents/pound as pit trading ended Tuesday, while April futures ran up 0.72 to 137.80. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures advanced 0.35 cents to 166.82 cents/pound, while May lifted 0.50 to 168.65.

Wholesale gains also appeared to boost the CME hog market. Although current pork quotes aren’t setting any records, they did surge in concert with beef values Tuesday morning. Those may presage larger seasonal gains into mid-February, which is apparently encouraging futures buying. February hogs closed 0.62 cents higher at 86.00 cents/pound Tuesday, while June inched up 0.20 to 100.90.

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