Corn futures closed higher on Thursday. Strength in crude oil and the stock market along with a bullish weekly export sales report were supportive factors. Old-crop export sales last week of 46.9 million bushels were above trade expectations and 72% above the previous 4-week average. May ended 5 cents higher at $3.90 3/4 and December was 5 1/4 cents higher at $4.22 3/4.



Soybean futures settled mixed on Thursday. Old-crop contracts were pressured by fears that China may release some soybeans currently being held in reserve. But further losses were limited by strength in crude oil and the stock market and decent weekly export sales that showed new sales to China. New-crop was higher as the crops continue to jockey for acreage this spring. May closed 7 cents lower at $9.44 while November was 1/2 of a cent higher at $8.80 1/2.



Wheat futures ended higher on Thursday. The market was able to rebound from the sharp losses yesterday. Firm corn prices and strength in outside financial markets also provided support. However, gains were limited by forecasts for some much needed precipitation in the southern Plains over the next couple of days. CBOT May closed 6 1/2 cents higher at $5.14 1/2, KCBT May was gained 5 cents to $5.60 and MGE May ended 7 3/4 cents higher at $6.12 3/4.



Cattle futures settled mostly lower on Thursday. Concern about the cash market and sluggish wholesale beef sales weighed on futures. The cash market remains on hold as packers have pulled higher bids from earlier in the week. Packer margins remain in the red and choice boxed beef prices were down another 51 cents at midday. April closed 35 cents lower at $84.28 and June ended 63 cents lower at $81.85.



Lean hog futures were lower on Thursday. The market was pressured by the large decline in pork cutout values on Wednesday. Traders ignored higher corn prices and a rise in the stock market. With the quarterly Hogs and Pigs report due out Friday after the market closes, a number of traders were closing out positions. April ended 73 cents lower at $60.53 and June was 95 cents lower at $71.78.