Grain, soy markets took a big hit Thursday morning

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Washington news undercut corn Thursday morning. The weekly USDA Export Sales report met expectations, which left the corn market open to weakness spilling over from the soybean market. However, late-morning news that two Senators had introduced bipartisan legislation to eliminate the U.S. ethanol mandate sent prices even lower. March corn futures fell 10.75 cents to $4.285/bushel late Thursday morning, while May lost 11.0 cents to $4.3675.

Technical selling seemingly sent the soy complex lower. The weekly Export Sales report seemed quite supportive of the soybean market, since the sales total easily topped industry forecasts. However, the nearby contracts apparently failed at pivotal levels on their respective charts, thereby triggering aggressive selling from antsy traders. January soybeans dove 22.0 cents to $13.22/bushel around midsession Thursday, while January soyoil dropped 0.53 cents to 39.87 cents/pound, and January soymeal plunged $9.3 to $429.6/ton.

The wheat markets joined the crop market decline. The wheat sales total on the weekly USDA report also proved unremarkable, which may have opened the market to selling spilling over from soybeans. The fact that winter wheat futures were leading the way lower may reflect late reports that snow cover is protecting U.S. crops from the severe cold. March CBOT wheat futures tumbled 9.5 cents to $6.3125/bushel just before lunchtime Thursday, while March KCBT wheat futures sank 10.25 cents to $6.745, and March MWE futures slid 5.25 cents to $6.6325.

Bullish cash expectations reportedly boosted cattle futures Thursday. Short-term cash market expectations have seemingly turned more positive as the week has passed, which in turn has translated into rising Chicago prices. Still, concerns about increased feedyard supplies and flat demand will probably tend to limit gains. February cattle futures rallied 0.42 cents to 133.22 cents/pound by late Thursday morning, while April futures added 0.45 to 134.27. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle leapt 1.25 cents to 166.92 cents/pound, and March feeders surged 1.17 to 166.67.

Hopes for renewed seasonal strength seemingly supported hog futures this morning. Cash market losses late last week and earlier this week apparently weighed heavily upon CME futures, particularly with pork prices also under pressure. However, talk of firming cash quotes and improved demand reportedly sparked increased optimism in the CME swine pit. February hog futures bounced 0.32 cents to 88.10 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Thursday, while June rose 0.20 to 99.80.

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