Corn futures closed slightly higher on Thursday. Strong weekly export sales reported this morning that included business with China, weakness in the dollar and strength in wheat helped support the corn market. USDA reported export sales of 48.3 million bushels this morning, which was above pre-report trade estimate. Gains were limited by weakness in crude oil and favorable weather for crop growth. July ended 1 1/4 cents higher at $3.57 1/2 and December was 1 cent lower at $3.78 1/4.  


Soybean futures were mixed on Thursday. Front end futures were pressured by the lower-than-expected weekly export sales figure reported this morning and weakness in crude oil. But new-crop months held small gains amid concern about wet weather in Canada trimming canola production prospects and the delayed tail end of soybean planting in the U.S. July closed 5 3/4 cents lower at $9.52 while November was 1/2 of a cent higher at $9.25.   


Wheat futures ended higher on Thursday. Strong gains at the MGE helped pull winter wheat markets higher. The MGE was supported by continued concern about the poor planting weather in Canadian wheat regions that is limiting spring wheat acreage. Weakness in the dollar and strong weekly export sales reported this morning were supportive factors. Weekly exports sales report this morning at 35.2 million bushels were well above trade expectations. CBOT July was 1 1/2 cents higher at $4.62 3/4, KCBT July ended 5 cents higher at $4.95 1/2 and MGE July settled 5 3/4 cents higher at $5.38.


Cattle futures closed lower on Thursday. Profit-taking from recent gains and the unexpected rise in jobless claims reported this morning weighed on futures. There is concern that this could slow demand for beef. Ideas that USDA could show a large May placements number in the Cattle on Feed report due out Friday afternoon also prompted the selling pressure today. June ended 45 cents lower at $89.60 and August was 55 cents lower at $88.63.


Lean hog futures traded lower on Thursday. The premium of futures to cash and profit-taking weighed on futures following recent gains. The decline in the stock market and the $1.42 drop in pork cutouts on Thursday were also bearish factors. Further losses were limited by the firm tone in the cash market and outlook for tightening supplies of market ready hogs. July closed 55 cents lower at $80.335 and August was 98 cents lower at $82.15.