Corn futures were slightly lower on the close Wednesday pressured by light profit taking following the strong rally of the past week. The prospect of increasing cash movement in the New Year contributed to the setback. However, commodity funds remain aggressively long and they are expected to add to those positions after the first of the year. March corn was 1 1/4 cents lower at $3.86 3/4 and the December 2007 contract fell 1/4 of a cent to close at $3.71 1/4.



Soybean futures finished a couple cents lower. Asian palm oil markets eased a bit after surging higher Tuesday on news that flooding in Indonesia is threatening to reduce production. Favorable South American production prospects and expectations for increasing cash movement in the New Year were negative factors. The January soybean contract was 2 cents lower at $6.69 1/2 and November was down 1 3/4 cents at $7.28 1/4.



Wheat futures were a few cents lower, pressured by forecasts for a winter storm to bring moisture to the hard red winter wheat region late this week and into the weekend. Technical selling also weighed on the market in the wake of a potential near term top on the charts at Tuesday's highs. CBOT March was 9 3/4 cents lower at $5.07. Kansas City March was down 8 cents at $5.12 and MGE March fell 8 1/4 cents to close at $5.13.



Cattle futures were sharply higher Wednesday boosted by higher beef cutout values and forecasts for another winter storm in the Plains. February futures blasted through chart resistance at $91.10 to reach the highest level since October 27. The other 2007 contracts surged to new contract highs. February cattle futures jumped 197 points to close at $92.07 and April was 190 points higher at $93.62.



Lean hog futures were modestly higher ahead of the Hogs and Pigs report. Surging cattle futures and higher cash hogs provided support. The USDA report released after the close was in line with market expectations. The breeding herd and market hog inventory are up slightly more than one percent from last year. February lean hogs were 12 points higher at $62.47 and June was up 52 points at $73.52.