Ag markets proved rather weak Thursday afternoon

Soy gains may have supported corn futures Thursday. The weekly Export Sales report stated last week's corn result well above forecasts, which likely prompted modest buying. Bulls could also point to strength spilling over from the soybean pit, where bullish news boosted the nearby contracts. Late weakness may have reflected the generally bearish environment. December corn futures closed 0.75 cent lower at $4.25/bushel Thursday afternoon, while May added 0.5 cents to $4.40.

Export news and a strong stopper of November bean deliveries boosted soy values. The weekly Export Sales report held few surprises, but CBOT traders were probably encouraged by early Thursday morning news of a 250,000-tonne soybean sale to China. News that a major commercial firm had taken initial deliveries against the expiring November contract seemed bullish as well. In contrast, news that the FDA may regulate trans fats, as in soybean oil, undercut that market. January soybean futures climbed 11.5 cents to $12.665/bushel at Thursday's settlement, while December soyoil dove 0.40 cents to 40.74 cents/pound, and December soymeal surged $7.0 to $403.8/ton.

The wheat markets also suffered late losses Thursday afternoon. The weekly Export Sales report seemed neutral for wheat prices, since the result essentially split the range of pre-report estimates. The Chicago market appeared to follow corn and beans higher early, but Kansas City and Minneapolis prices led the way lower later in the day. December CBOT wheat futures slid 0.25 cent to $6.53/bushel as Thursday's pit session ended, whereas December KCBT wheat futures lost 4.0 cent to $7.1575, and December MWE futures skidded 2.75 to $7.095.

Cattle traders apparently expect flat cash market results this week. Although history suggests cash cattle and wholesale strength early in most months, this week's beef slippage, especially in choice cutout, hasn't been helpful to the bullish cause. Traders reportedly expect steady-weak cash trading as a result, thereby causing cattle futures to struggle. December cattle futures settled 0.35 cents lower at 131.67 cents/pound Thursday, while April futures slumped 0.02 to 134.20. January feeder cattle sank 0.42 cents to 165.12 cents/pound, while March feeders lost 0.55 cents to 164.82.

Nearby hog futures firmed in Thursday action. Although surging hog weights have given rise to talk of increasing supplies over the short run, CME swine futures rose moderately this morning. That almost surely reflected surprising wholesale strength on morning reports; the fact that those are often mitigated or reversed in the afternoon probably limited the CME response. December hog futures advanced 0.20 cents at 87.55 cents/pound as trading would down Thursday, while April ran up 0.32 to 93.17.