Corn futures led the crop markets higher Wednesday night. Little fresh news emerged early Thursday morning, with traders seeming to look for firming cash prices now that the U.S. corn harvest is largely complete. December corn futures rose 2.5 cents to $4.195/bushel around dawn Thursday, while May edged up 1.25 to $4.3475.

Surging palm oil prices seemingly boosted the soy complex in early trading. Talk of growing tightness of global palm oil supplies sent Asian prices to their highest level in over a year, which pulled soyoil values upward as well. Those gains also boosted bean and meal prices despite the latter products’ position on the opposite side of the crush spread. January soybean futures rallied 6.0 cents to $12.7975/bushel in early Thursday action, while December soyoil surged 0.56 cents to 40.88 cents/pound, and December soymeal stabilized at $407.0/ton.

Talk of Japanese buying may be supporting the wheat markets. After dipping Wednesday, wheat futures bounced slightly overnight. That probably marked a response to concurrent corn and soy gains, but bulls could also point to news that Japan had bought wheat for milling and feed use this week. December CBOT wheat futures gained 1.75 cents to $6.49/bushel early Thursday morning, while December KCBT wheat futures moved up 2.25 to $6.9775, and December MWE futures inched 125 cents higher to $6.99.

Mixed beef quotes seemingly undercut cattle futures last night. Beef prices declined early this week, thereby sparking a big CME drop. Bulls are probably hoping for renewed wholesale strength, which might then spur a cash prices to a fresh record by the weekend. However, mixed Wednesday afternoon cutout data were not encouraging. December cattle futures skidded 0.02 cents to 131.02 in early Thursday trading, while April futures were flat at 132.67. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle ran up 0.25 cents to 163.00 cents/pound, and March feeders crept up 0.02 cents to 163.20.

Hog futures are trying to extend their Wednesday surge. Spiking hog weights had recently depressed hog futures, since the increases suggested the supply of market-ready animals was plentiful. But the modest rise posted Wednesday suggested otherwise, thereby seeming to trigger a big CME rebound. Thinking along those lines appeared to offer sustained support despite Wednesday afternoon cash and wholesale losses. December hog futures edged up 0.02 cents to 86.27 cents/pound around sunrise Thursday, while April traded steady at 93.60.

Cotton futures continued their Wednesday trends. Talk of diminished Chinese production and official reluctance to continue their stockpiling program seemed to support deferred cotton futures yesterday, with active rolling of positions from the expiring December contract into 2014 positions depressing the former and boosting the latter. Those shifts seemed to persist overnight. December cotton tumbled 0.68 cents to 74.95 cents/pound just after sunrise Thursday, while March cotton climbed 0.26 to 78.40.