Corn futures traded lower on Thursday. Profit-taking and weekly export sales at the low end of expectations weighed on the market. New sales reported this morning for the 2010/11 marketing year of 16.3 million bushels were down 54% from the previous week. Further losses were limited by strong corn usage for ethanol and tight ending stocks projections. March closed 7 cents lower at $6.50 3/4 and December was 8 cents lower at $5.82 3/4.
Soybean futures closed solidly higher on Thursday. Strong export sales, bullish crush data and a port strike in Argentina supported the market. Weekly export sales reported this morning of 34.6 million bushels were above trade expectations. In addition, Census crush for December was estimated at 153.1 million bushels, up 1 million bushels from the average trade estimate. March closed 14 cents higher at $13.99 1/2 while new-crop gains were moderate as November was 1 3/4 cents higher at $13.25 1/2.
Wheat futures traded lower on Thursday. The market turned lower on profit-taking following the recent strong rally in wheat prices. Futures traded lower despite a supportive weekly export sales report. Export sales of 38.5 million bushels were at the high end of expectations. Losses were limited by ideas of continued strong export demand amid concern about the tight global supply of high quality wheat. CBOT March closed 10 1/4 cents lower at $8.46 1/4, KCBT March was 7 1/2 cents lower at $9.32 1/2 and MGE March ended 1 cent lower at $9.76.
Cattle futures closed lower on Thursday. Profit-taking following the gains on Wednesday and the weakness in the cash market this week pressured prices. However, losses were limited by strengthening beef prices. Choice cutouts were up 38 cents at midday and are at the highest level since July 2008. February ended 28 cents lower at $106.95 and April was 10 cents lower at $112.18.
Lean hog futures were mostly lower on Thursday. The February contract was supported by strength in pork cutouts and the cash market. But deferred contracts were pressured by profit-taking from recent gains. Futures have rallied to new highs on ideas that South Korea will import more U.S. pork as they are dealing with foot-and-mouth disease. February closed 93 cents higher at $83.95 while April was 10 cents lower at $90.03.