Corn futures ended higher on Thursday. Strength in soybeans helped support the market as most deferred contracts hit new highs. Strong demand and expectations for index fund buying after the first of the year were bullish factors. March closed 1 3/4 cents higher at $3.88 1/2 and December '07 ended 2 1/2 cents higher at $3.73 3/4.

Soybean futures were higher on Thursday. The January contract reached the highest point since December 1 before gains were trimmed. Ideas that corn will steal acreage from soybeans this spring remains a supportive factor. Soybean oil was also supported by palm oil reach a new 8-year high overnight. January settled 6 1/4 cents higher at $6.75 3/4 and November was 6 1/4 higher at $7.34 1/2.

Wheat futures ended mixed on Thursday. After opening higher, the market quickly retreated as modest selling pressure persisted throughout the trading session. Strength in the soy complex provided early support, but forecasts for precipitation in the Plains were a bearish influence. CBOT Mar was down 2 3/4 cents at $5.04 1/4. KCBT Mar was 1/4 cent higher at $5.12 1/4 while MGE Mar fell 3/4 cent to close at $5.12 1/4.

Cattle futures closed higher on Thursday, with many contracts posting new highs. Cash market optimism, rising beef prices, and forecasts for a winter storm in the Plains continued to push futures higher. February was up 48 points at $92.55 and the April contract closed 25 points higher at $93.88. January feeder cattle climbed 55 points to close at $99.30.

Lean hog futures closed mixed on Thursday in quiet trading. Nearby futures were pressured by some weakness in the cash market while deferreds shrugged off the modestly bearish farrowing intentions in the quarterly Hogs and Pigs report and closed higher. February declined by 43 cents and closed at $62.05. June hogs gained 35 cents and ended the day at $73.88.