Corn futures closed lower on Thursday. Profit-taking weighed on futures after the higher open. Initial support came from the Supply/Demand report, spillover strength from soybeans and the rally in the stock market and crude oil. USDA lowered their corn ending stocks estimate for 2008/09 a little more than expected to 1.70 billion bushels, down 40 million from last month. May ended 6 3/4 cents lower at $3.90 1/4 and December fell 6 cents to $4.21 3/4.



Soybean futures ended slightly higher on Thursday. The market opened strongly higher and hit 2 1/2 month highs before profit-taking trimmed gains. USDA lowered their ending stocks projection for 2008/09 to only 165 million bushels, down 20 million from last month. In addition, world soybean production was lowered 4.5 million tonnes, due mostly to the cut in Argentina's crop of 4 million tonnes. May closed 1 cent higher at $10.07 and November was 6 cents higher at $9.22.



Wheat futures settled lower on Thursday. The market opened higher on spillover support from soybeans as well as outside financial markets. But the neutral to bearish U.S. and world supply/demand revisions pushed prices lower. As expected, USDA lowered U.S. ending stocks to 696 million bushels, down 16 million from last month. But world numbers were bearish as USDA raised production by 2.4 million tonnes and world ending stocks by 2.2 million tonnes. CBOT May ended 10 cents lower at $5.22, KCBT May was 9 1/2 cents lower at $5.70 1/2 and MGE May fell 12 1/4 cents to $6.28 1/4.



Cattle futures closed strongly higher on Thursday. Firm cash in Nebraska on Wednesday and higher packer bids in the southern Plains supported futures. The rally in the stock market and fund buying helped extend the rally. Beef prices have moved mostly higher this week and at midday choice cutouts were up 27 cents, hitting the highest level since early February. April ended $1.48 higher at $87.53 and June was 83 cents higher at $84.60.



Lean hog futures were higher on Thursday, except for the deliverable April contract. The reduced slaughter around the Easter holiday has pressured the cash market this week despite strengthening pork prices. Pork cutouts were up 94 cents on Wednesday. Deferreds were supported by the outlook for tighter hog supplies and seasonal improvement in demand. In the Supply/Demand report this morning, USDA lowered pork production and raised their export projection from March. April ended 38 cents lower at $58.00 while June closed 93 cents higher at $74.28.