Corn futures prices closed fractionally lower Thursday as futures basically consolidated after sharp losses earlier this week. The market is still at risk of fund liquidation, but we expect the contract low at $1.99 1/2 to hold on the March contract. March settled 3/4 of a cent lower at $2.05. May futures also closed 3/4 lower at $2.14 3/4.

Soybean futures closed steady to lower on Thursday. The market held in a fairly tight range today as selling pressure was limited following recent weakness. Oversold technicals and talk of export interest from China were supportive factors. March closed 3/4 of a cent lower at $5.65 and May was unchanged at $5.74 3/4.

Wheat futures settled higher on Thursday. The Kansas City March contract led the way on news that Iraq is back in the market for more U.S. wheat. Today's gains reinforce our belief that the setback Tuesday and Wednesday was a technical correction while the long-term trend is higher. CBOT Mar was up 4 cents at $3.26 1/2. KCBT Mar jumped 10 1/4 cents to close at $3.83 and MGE Mar was 7 1/2 cents higher at $3.90.

Live cattle futures ended higher on Thursday. Firm cutout values and expectations for stronger cash prices provided support. Anticipation of a bearish Cattle on Feed report Friday afternoon limited gains. February gains 5 points to close at $96.12. April closed 15 points higher to close at $94.65. March feeder cattle were up 50 points at $111.70.

Lean hog futures closed higher on Thursday with support from higher cash bids. Profit taking following the big losses on Wednesday was also supportive. Cash hog prices continued to rise, with several markets reporting gains of $1 to $2. February gained 50 cents and closed at $58.65 and April ended 58 cents higher at $63.58.