CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Chicago Board of Trade corn futures continued to march higher Wednesday, ending up slightly amid supportive outside markets and concerns about the crop.

December corn ended up 1 1/4 cents to $3.83 per bushel and March corn ended up 1 3/4 cents to $3.95. The market has climbed 13 out of the past 17 days.

While the market has had some supportive fundamental news, many traders and analysts say the rally has been due mostly to a weaker dollar and increased fund interest in commodities generally.

"The markets are thin, and they're not taking any prisoners," said Sid Love, analyst with Kropf and Love Consulting. "They're running over anyone in the way."

Funds bought an estimated 4,000 contracts Wednesday. In addition to the weaker dollar, traders noted support from crude oil and equities.

Corn was a follower during the session, retreating from early gains when wheat broke around midday but rebounding late when wheat regained its footing. A trader added that corn's midday break was also fueled by drier midday weather forecasts, although meteorologists said that next week still looks wet throughout the corn belt.

Concerns about the crop, particularly in light of the poor harvest progress Tuesday, is supportive, analysts said. The trade is already estimating that 100,000 to 200,000 bushels of corn were lost due to recent freezing weather. While not a huge amount, continued wet weather will delay harvest and could affect quality, traders said.

The slow harvest pace is making near-term supplies tight, but analysts expect that once the harvest picks up, cash prices will start to dip, dragging futures with them.

Love said that in the meantime, the market seems poised to make a run at $4 thanks to the widespread bullish tone.

"It looks like they want to run it up the flagpole and see if somebody will salute it," he said.

But like a lot of other analysts, Love questions whether the fundamentals can support prices that high. Regardless of the crummy weather and delayed harvest, the crop this year will still be very large, they said.

CBOT oats ended lower in a correction from recent gains. December oats ended down 5 cents to $2.53 1/2 per bushel and March oats ended down 5 cents to $2.66 1/2. Despite the losses, the December contract is still up 13 1/2 cents so far this week.

Ethanol futures ended lower. November ethanol ended down $0.006 to $1.882 per gallon and December ethanol ended down $0.011 to $1.827.


-By Ian Berry, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-341-5778; ian.berry@dowjones.com