Thursday’s export data hardly helped the crop markets. Today’s USDA Export Sales report stated the corn total near the upper end of the forecast range, but futures couldn’t sustain their initial positive reaction. Overnight economic statements and disappointing economic reports appear to be weighing on most markets, with corn futures following the general downward trend. May corn futures slid 2.25 cents to $3.7375/bushel around midsession Wednesday, while December dipped 2.75 to $3.9775.

The reaction to good soybean sales couldn’t be sustained. The Export Sales report indicated a surprisingly large soybean total last week, with meal sales seeming rather strong as well. However, the bullish response couldn’t be sustained. Wire service reports cited improved short-term rainfall prospects for the general soy weakness, but the bearish financial, forex and commodity sectors apparently remain under pressure. May soybean futures dropped 7.25 cents to $9.5775/bushel as the lunch hour loomed Thursday, while May soyoil sank 0.16 cents to 31.64 cents/pound, and May meal skidded $2.1 to $309.4/ton.

Wheat futures bucked the bearish Wednesday night trend. Although the recent decline suggests wheat might be more vulnerable to further losses than others, the golden grain markets rose modestly overnight. We harbor suspicions that traders were reacting to announcements of big tenders from Ethiopia and Japan, thereby reminding traders of underlying demand for wheat and its products. May CBOT wheat gained 1.25 cents to $4.92/bushel in early Thursday trading, while May KC wheat inched up 0.25 cent to $5.1475/bushel, and May MWE wheat added 1.0 to $5.4425.

Cattle futures proved quite strong again Wednesday. The large discounts built into cattle futures may have exaggerated Wednesday’s CME resurgence. The rise seemed technical in nature, but it appeared that wholesale firmness was encouraging bulls as well. That strong beef quotes posted late in the day also suggest a strong Thursday opening. June cattle futures surged 1.25 cents to 151.67 cents/pound at their Wednesday close, while August cattle rallied 1.02 to 149.00 cents/pound. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures leapt 1.62 cents to 212.42 cents/pound, and August feeders vaulted 1.47 to 214.22.

Technical selling exaggerated Wednesday’s hog losses. The April hog contract slipped only slightly as its noon Wednesday expiration loomed, but the deferred contracts fell sharply. Sizeable futures premium probably rendered them vulnerable to aggressive technical selling, since mid-session quotes pointed to continued spot market firmness. Flat GLOBEX action suggests a weak start to Thursday morning trading. June hog futures plunged 3.00 cents to 75.47 cents/pound as Wednesday’s CME pit session ended, while December dropped 1.40 to 67.40.