Ag markets diverged again Thursday

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Corn futures followed wheat lower Thursday. After recently marching upward in concert with the wheat markets, CBOT corn prices followed the golden grains lower this morning. The weekly USDA Export Sales report was hardly noteworthy, although bulls may have been somewhat disappointed with the result. May corn close 3.5 cents lower at $4.85/bushel Thursday, while December lost 2.25 to $4.84.

The soy complex posted a sizeable comeback Thursday afternoon. Early morning confirmation of Chinese cancellations of Brazilian bean shipments left CBOT futures virtually unchanged Thursday morning. The unsurprising Export Sales data hardly budged prices either. Asian palm weakness reportedly depressed upon oil values, but beans and meal posted an impressive comeback on apparent bullish bargain hunting. May soybeans advanced 9.25 cents to $13.9625/bushel at their Thursday close, while May soyoil dropped 0.43 cents to 42.99 cents/pound, and May soymeal moved up $5.4 at $441.9/ton.

Bullish profit-taking hit the wheat markets. Production concerns and export optimism have apparently boosted wheat futures lately, with exchange prices responding very well to late developments. And while the weekly export sales report met industry expectations, the lack of bullish news apparently sparked aggressive profit-taking by industry bulls. Reduced concerns about Black Sea sales also played a role in the drop. May CBOT wheat futures tumbled 10.0 cents to $6.7375/bushel at Thursday’s settlement, while May KCBT wheat futures sank 11.0 cents to $7.3675 and May MWE futures dropped 10.25 to $7.205.

Wholesale news apparently weighed on cattle futures. Spiking wholesale prices have recently supported cattle futures, with Wednesday’s CME advance seemingly anticipating cash gains today or tomorrow. However, cutout values lost their upward momentum yesterday, with select cuts posting a sizeable setback. Mixed midsession beef quotes seemingly equated to a mixed Chicago close. April cattle futures declined 0.25 cents at 143.62 cents/pound as CME trading ended Thursday, while August edged up 0.15 cents to 134.77. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle rose 0.05 cents to 175.92 cents/pound, and August crept up 0.17 to 178.35.

Cash and wholesale strength again sent the hog market soaring. The huge CME hog rally seemingly lost its upward momentum Wednesday, with the nearby April contract suffering a significant loss. However, late reports indicated strong gains at both the cash and wholesale levels yesterday, which has almost surely powered the subsequent CME rebound. April hogs spiked 3.00 cents to 118.92 cents/pound Thursday, while June surged 2.28 to 127.60.

Cotton sales turned down with the equity markets. The weekly Export Sales report stated last week’s cotton result at 60,000 running bales for the 2013/14 crop year. That hardly seemed encouraging, but it apparently topped trader expectations. Futures rallied strongly soon thereafter. However, the market reversed to downside later in the day in a rather obvious reaction to diving equity market action. May cotton sank 0.52 cents to 91.68 cents/pound at their Thursday settlement, while December cotton inched up 0.06 to 79.94.

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