Ag markets turned mostly higher Tuesday morning

Corn futures are struggling around critical chart levels. The corn market obviously responded well to last Friday's supportive USDA data, but futures were under pressure Tuesday morning. Surplus U.S. conditions and recent declines in ethanol and distillers grains seem to be weighing upon prices. The outlook may depend upon nearby futures' ability to hold above critical moving average support. March corn futures slid 5.25 cents to $4.2925/bushel just before lunchtime Tuesday, while May lost 5.25 to $4.3725/bushel.

Argentine weather news appears to be boosting the soy complex. Soybeans and meals rallied Monday in response to good export news, but today's follow-through rise reportedly marks a response to talk of minimal weekend rains over Argentina's main soy growing area, as well as current hot temperatures in that region. However, Asian palm weakness is keeping pressure on oil values. March soybeans rallied 11.0 cents to $13.0525/bushel late Tuesday morning, while March soyoil skidded 0.06 cents to 37.78 cents/pound, and March soymeal gained $6.1 to $428.0/ton.

The wheat markets seem caught between corn and beans. Although wheat prices rallied modestly Monday, they slipped back toward three-year lows this morning. Large global supplies seemingly make them vulnerable to concurrent corn losses, but traders are also having a hard time ignoring the latest soybean advance. March CBOT wheat futures rose 0.75 cent to $5.7425/bushel around midsession Tuesday, while March KCBT wheat futures edged up 3.0 cents to $6.2275, but March MWE futures slumped 0.75 to $6.17.

Cattle futures are trying to break out to the upside. CME cattle prices seemingly have every reason to surge to fresh highs, because cash cattle and wholesale beef markets have already done so. Indeed, beef prices hit new all-time records at midday Tuesday. Continued strength seems likely to spark a fresh CME advance, but bulls haven't been able to make a decisive move just yet. February cattle futures had jumped 0.87 cents to 137.47 cents/pound by late Tuesday morning, while April futures climbed 0.77 to 137.85. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle

Wholesale gains also seem to be boosting the CME hog market. Although current pork quotes aren't setting any records, they did surge in concert with beef values Tuesday morning. Those may presage larger seasonal gains into mid-February, which is apparently encouraging futures buying. February hogs rallied 0.80 cents to 86.17 cents/pound in late Tuesday morning action, while June inched up 0.02 to 100.72.


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