Corn futures backed away from early Thursday highs. Surging equity markets reflect renewed optimism about the global economic & political outlook, which in turn seems bullish for grain demand prospects. Corn futures rallied significantly in early morning action, but slumped in the wake of the mediocre result on the weekly USDA Export Sales report. March corn futures close 2.75 cents higher at $4.11/bushel Thursday, while July added 3.0 to $4.2625.

The soy complex seemed to follow stocks higher. The USDA Export Sales report indicated a soybean result that met expectations but fell far below the huge totals posted in recent weeks. Conversely, product sales smashed forecasts, thereby seeming to send a bullish signal to Chicago traders. The whole complex appeared to run out of gas around midmorning, but later turned decidedly higher in a seeming reaction to soaring equity market gains. January soybean futures rallied 8.0 cents to $10.35/bushel as Thursday’s CBOT session ended, while January soyoil moved up 0.12 to 31.89 cents/pound, and January meal advanced $6.0 to $365.3/ton.

Recent news again supported the wheat markets. Early Thursday reports indicated that Russia’s new export rules had slowed rail ladings of wheat. As one would expect, that development encouraged fresh buying at the U.S. exchanges. Bulls probably liked the Export Sales report as well, since the latest figure topped recent totals and slightly exceeded forecasts. On the other hand, futures closed well below their early highs. March CBOT wheat climbed 6.75 cents to $6.5525/bushel at their Thursday settlement, while March KC wheat rose 2.25 cents to $6.8375/bushel and March MWE wheat gained 1.25 to $6.61.

Cattle futures posted a dramatic reversal. The recent breakdown in fed and feeder cattle prices seemed to run its course today. Reports of another cash market dive Wednesday afternoon apparently matched industry expectations, thereby opening the door for a major short-covering rebound. Not only did live cattle futures rebound strongly, feeder futures came roaring back from limit down levels later in the day. February live cattle leapt 2.70 cents to 158.52 cents/pound late in Thursday’s CME pit session, while April futures soared 2.65 cents to 158.20. January feeder cattle futures rallied 0.47 cents to 217.07 cents/pound and March feeders surged 1.52 cents to 213.77.

Limited spot market losses seemed to take the pressure off of hogs. Despite big cash and wholesale losses posted Wednesday afternoon, hog futures bounced on today’s opening. Traders probably think recent CME losses, particularly those in the cattle and feeder pits, were overdone. Today’s comparatively stable midday spot quotes proved also seemed to spur CME hog buying. February hog futures vaulted 1.40 cents and ended Thursday at 81.87 cents/pound, while June hogs jumped 1.87 cents to 90.87.