Cotton was a major exception to Wednesday night ag market gains

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Corn futures seemed to follow soybeans higher Thursday morning. The nearby corn contracted ended Wednesday resting on short-term moving average support, so overnight firmness in the absence of fresh news was probably to be expected. The modest rebound was seemingly boosted by concurrent soy gains. March corn rose 1.0 cent to $4.41/bushel Wednesday night, while May added 1.0 to $4.47.

Talk of strong exports boosted soybeans Wednesday night. The USDA will release its weekly Export Sales report this morning and traders are reportedly anticipating a strong result. When combined with recent meal market firmness and the overnight Asian palm oil advance to six-week highs, and last night’s general advance doesn’t look very surprising. March soybeans bounced 7.25 cents to $13.3025/bushel in pre-dawn Thursday trading, while March soyoil climbed 0.16 cents to 39.15 cents/pound, and March soymeal gained $2.4 to $445.9/ton.

Wheat futures also proved quite firm overnight. Little news pertinent to the U.S. wheat markets emerged Wednesday night, so traders were seemingly encouraged by strength spilling over from soybeans. The fact that the nearby March contracts have also pushed above short-term resistance lately probably encouraged buying as well. March CBOT wheat futures advanced 2.0 cents to $5.89/bushel early Thursday morning, while March KCBT wheat futures edged up 1.0 cent to $6.64, and March MWE futures were unchanged at $6.5475.

Cattle futures bounced modestly from Wednesday losses. Concerns about the impact of persistent wholesale losses seemed to undercut cattle futures yesterday. Beef prices declined again Wednesday afternoon, but traders may have anticipated the drop, because cattle futures rebounded in overnight action. That probably reflects optimism about this week’s cash market activity. April cattle futures rallied 0.22 cents to 141.00 cents/pound in early Thursday trading, while August moved up 0.17 cents to 130.67. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle inched 0.05 cents higher to 168.55 cents/pound, and May increased 0.32 to 170.35.

Hog futures were mixed in early Thursday action. Wholesale pork prices rose strongly Wednesday afternoon, which almost surely encouraged hog traders at the CME. However, the late cash quotes rose only slightly, thereby discouraging bulls. Thus, the expiring February future dipped overnight, while the deferred contracts rose modestly. April hogs gained 0.15 cents to 94.52 cents/pound as Thursday dawned over Chicago, while June added 0.07 to 104.72.

The cotton market continued Wednesday’s late slide overnight. As with the other crop markets, little fresh news concerning cotton emerged last night. However, traders are apparently tracking developments in the equity markets rather closely, so given yesterday’s stock slippage and larger overnight declines in index futures, it wasn’t terribly surprising to see cotton futures suffer significant losses as well. March cotton dove 1.44 cents to 86.93 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Thursday, while July cotton fell 1.18 to 86.76.

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