Livestock and crop markets diverged Thursday

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Corn futures turned downward Thursday afternoon. Corn began 2014 on a firm note, despite reports of ample rainfall over Argentine corn and soybean fields, as well as industry concerns about getting product into China. However, prices turned downward later in the day, which probably reflected industry worries and weakness spilling over from the soybean market. March corn futures dipped 1.5 cents to $4.205/bushel at their Thursday close, while May lost 1.25 cents to $4.29/bushel

The soy complex remained under pressure Thursday. The implications of good weekend rainfall in Argentine kept downward pressure upon the soy complex today. The fact that local sources also boosted their forecasts for the forthcoming Argentine crop probably played a bearish role as well. Soymeal reportedly suffered from pessimism about domestic demand strength as well. March soybeans dove 22.5 cents to $12.70/bushel by late Thursday afternoon, while March soyoil slumped 0.33 cents to 38.80 cents/pound, and March soymeal plunged $10.7 to $406.3/ton.

Wheat markets gave back their New Year’s Eve gains. Last minute short-covering and concerns about U.S. winter kill seemingly boosted wheat markets on the last day of 2013. However, prices reversed to the downside this morning, with talk that overnight snowfall will protect Midwest wheat from predicted arctic temperatures during the days ahead. The soy breakdown couldn’t have helped the bullish cause either. March CBOT wheat futures fell 8.25 cents to $5.97/bushel at Thursday’s settlement, while March KCBT wheat futures dropped 9.25 cents to $6.3125, and March MWE futures sank 10.0 to $6.2525.

Surging cash prices boosted cattle futures Thursday. After suffering a surprising setback Tuesday, cattle futures turned upward again today. News of record high country prices likely exaggerated ideas that arctic weather could hurt the performance of feedlot cattle and amplify the traditional winter rally. February cattle futures bounced 1.00 cent to 135.62 cents/pound as Thursday’s trading concluded, while April futures added 0.50 to 135.80. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures declined 0.40 cents to 167.00 cents/pound, whereas May edged up 0.27 to 168.95.

Tuesday’s cash and wholesale strength probably sparked hog gains. After suffering a stunning reversal from post-Hogs-&-Pigs-report highs Monday, hog futures have subsequently recovered. Tuesday afternoon reports of cash firmness and big wholesale gains probably encouraged bulls looking for much more of the same on a seasonal basis. Today’s cattle news very likely encouraged bulls as well. February hogs closed up 1.65 cents at 87.07 cents/pound Thursday, and June climbed 0.92 to 101.07.

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