CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Pressure from a firm dollar and weaker equities helped push Chicago Board of Trade corn futures slightly lower Wednesday.

December corn ended down 1 3/4 cents to $3.69 per bushel and March corn ended down 1 1/2 cents to $3.81 1/2.

Given the stronger dollar, weaker equities, lower crude oil and a bearish technical posture, the market did not perform badly, some analysts said.

"That's maybe telling you the market is going to stabilize for a moment," said Jason Britt, president of Central State Commodities.

The market showed some early strength, even trading higher briefly, before the outside macro markets asserted themselves.

"There's not a lot of incentive to chase it" on rallies, a trader said.

The trader said that with the market's recent decline, end-month selling could be a factor the rest of the week.

Traders are reacting differently to the weather. Many have cited the prospect of drier weather next week as a reason for corn's recent weakness--the market has plunged from an intraday high of $4.13 on Friday.

Others note that rains will blanket much of the U.S. corn belt through the end of the week, before a window of dry weather opens.

Given all the rain this month, "you're still going to need 4 to 5 days of drying" for harvest to really pick up, a trader said.

T-storm Weather meteorologist Mike Tannura said in a Wednesday report that rain this week will make it the second-wettest October on record for Illinois, dating back to 1895. With the upcoming rains, this year will pass 1919 for the second-wettest October on record at 6.87 inches.

But the state is unlikely to exceed the record average total of 9.23 inches in 1941.

Also, Tannura pointed out that in both 1919 and 1941, November rainfall was near the long-term average of 2.81 inches, which serves as "evidence that the wet pattern can end."

Even when the corn belt dries out enough to get combines into the fields, an excess of wet corn could tax grain elevators' drying capacity in some areas, creating a bottleneck, some analysts said.

Demand has lagged amid the market's recent surge, and weekly export sales are expected to be weak again Thursday when reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But analysts say demand could pick up again with prices moving closer to $3.50, and they also note that ethanol demand remains strong.

CBOT oats ended higher. December oats ended up 3 3/4 cents to $2.47 3/4 per bushel and March oats ended up 3 3/4 cents to $2.61 1/4.

Ethanol futures were lower. November ethanol ended down $0.025 to $1.955 per gallon and December ethanol settled down $0.019 to $1.866.


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