Corn futures closed sharply lower on Thursday. Heavy fund selling pressured the market as funds take profits or position for index fund rebalancing. Weaker-than-expected weekly export sales of 14.5 million bushels and outside market were also bearish factors. The dollar index was up strongly while crude oil futures posted big losses. March ended 17 1/4 cents lower at $6.02 and May was 16 3/4 cents lower at $6.10 3/4.  


Soybean futures traded lower on Thursday. Profit-taking from the strong gains on Wednesday and outside markets are pressuring futures trade. The dollar was strongly higher today while crude oil was lower. Export demand has been strong, but basis levels at the Gulf were weak today on slower export demand. January closed 16 1/2 cents lower at $13.69 1/2 and March was 15 1/2 cents lower at $13.78.   


Wheat futures closed strongly lower on Thursday. Fund selling pressured the market today amid strength in the dollar and profit-taking from the rally on Wednesday. Gains accelerated into the close. Losses earlier in the session were limited by weekly export sales of 17.1 million bushels, which were at the high end of trade expectations. CBOT March was 19 1/4 cents lower at $7.89, KCBT March closed 14 3/4 cents lower at $8.58 1/2 and MGE March ended 15 1/4 cents lower at $8.83 3/4.


Cattle futures traded higher on Thursday, although gains were trimmed into the close. Recent strength in boxed beef prices helped support the market. Choice beef prices are at the highest level since May, although they were 23 cents lower at midday. Cash trade this week was at its highest level since 2003, although prices eased slightly during the week. February closed 10 cents higher at $106.73 and April was 25 cents higher at $110.80.


Lean hog futures were strongly higher on Thursday. Strength in the cash market supported the market. Cash prices were up as much as $2.50 on Wednesday and the tone today was steady to firm. Packers were short-bought and in need of hogs for slaughter schedules. Ideas that market ready hog numbers will tighten this month was also supportive. February ended $1.75 higher at $79.78 and April was $1.93 higher at $84.10.