CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Chicago Board of Trade corn futures ended lower amid outside market pressure and weak fundamentals.

December corn ended down 3 1/2 cents to $3.40 1/2 per bushel, and March corn ended down 3 1/2 cents to $3.53 1/4.

Despite the losses, traders and analysts used the word "resilient" to describe the market throughout the day.

"For a lot of people, the resilience of the market has been somewhat puzzling," said Joel Karlin, analyst for Western Milling. "Because you are looking at a large crop."

Traders said they would have expected greater losses given a drop in equities and a higher dollar. Soybeans and wheat were also lower Thursday.

Views of the weather are mixed. Cold, wet weather isn't likely to reduce the size of the crop, but it is nonetheless providing underlying support, according to some analysts.

But some say the cold weather and frost threat are not as much of a fear this late in the season. The fear has been that an early frost would cut short a crop that has run behind schedule all season and wasn't at full maturity. "I think we're almost beyond that point," a trader said.

And others dismiss the wet weather as a nuisance that will increase drying costs but have little effect on the size of the crop, or supplies.

The action of the past couple weeks has prompted some to declare that the market has likely set a seasonal low. Others, such as Karlin, still expect the large crop to send the market lower later in the year.

Jason Britt, president of Central State Commodities, said "listening to some of the yields coming in, I'd be hard pressed to find us not coming under more pressure at some point in time."

Limiting the losses Thursday was short-covering and a strong weekly export sales report, traders and analysts said.

Funds, which have been giving the market a boost in recent days, sold an estimated 4,000 contracts Thursday.

CBOT oats futures ended lower. December oats ended down 9 cents to $2.24 per bushel and March oats ended down 9 cents to $2.37 1/2. The nearby contract gained 15 cents the first two days of the week and lost 10 cents the past two days.

Ethanol futures ended higher. October ethanol ended up $0.048 to $1.831 per gallon and November ended up $0.016 to $1.708.


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