Crop markets outperformed livestock futures Thursday morning

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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, CBOT prices set back from early highs, thereby suggesting the industry had fully anticipated the strong result. March corn slipped 0.5 cent to $4.4275/bushel by late Thursday morning, while May gained 0.25 to $4.4775.

The soy complex posted impressive gains Thursday morning. 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 the report’s release. March soybeans rallied 13.5 cents to $13.2975/bushel in late Thursday morning action, while March soyoil climbed 0.65 cents to 38.88 cents/pound, and March soymeal added $4.4 to $446.4/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 are pushing Minneapolis prices upward. March CBOT wheat futures dipped 2.5 cents to $5.8525/bushel just before lunchtime Thursday, while March KCBT wheat futures edged up 1.5 cents to $6.5275, whereas March MWE futures surged 9.5 to $6.39.

News of a packing plant fire seemed to depress cattle futures. After essentially stalling Wednesday night, cattle futures turned generally lower this morning. That probably marked a response to news of a fire at a Nebraska packing plant owned by Cargill, which in turn implies at least a short-term reduction in packer demand for fed cattle. April cattle futures dropped 0.12 cents to 138.97 cents/pound around midsession Thursday, while August edged up 0.10 cents to 129.75. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle sank 0.17 cents to 166.75 cents/pound, and May tumbled 0.22 to 168.10.

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 are setting back this morning. That probably came in response to talk of dropping pork prices. The midday cutout result came in sharply lower. April hogs fell 0.67 cents to 94.32 cents/pound late Thursday morning, while June slumped 0.25 to 105.15.

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