Corn challenged the $4.00/bushel level. Although Wednesday’s USDA WASDE report had mixed domestic and international market implications, prices rally today. The weekly Export Sales result was supportive, but not outstanding. Moving average support and big equity gains probably encouraged bulls, thereby enabling March futures to test chart resistance at the pivotal $4.00/bushel level. March corn futures closed up 4.75 cents to $3.985/bushel Thursday, while July added 4.0 to $4.125.

Beans rallied despite Thursday’s weak export results. The weekly USDA Export Sales report stated soybean and product movements at the low end of industry expectations, which might have undercut the markets. Nevertheless, the soy complex traded strongly, with the underlying belief in torrid demand growth likely powering the rise. January soybean futures advanced 10.25 cents to $10.4225/bushel at their Thursday settlement, while January soyoil rallied 0.27 cents to 32.02 cents/pound, and January meal gained $2.4 to $371.5/ton.

The wheat markets posted an impressive close. The glutted global wheat situation was reemphasized by Wednesday’s WASDE report and by this morning’s news that the U.S. was once again shut out of a sizeable Egyptian tender. Nevertheless, the futures markets turned sharply higher by the end of the day. Wire service reports cited technical buying and fresh talk of Russian export restrictions for the advance. March CBOT wheat jumped 15.75 cents to $5.975/bushel in late Thursday trading, while March KC wheat climbed 10.0 cents to $6.275/bushel and March MWE wheat surged 10.75 to $6.1525.

Cattle futures held up well in the face of cash weakness. Panhandle cattle didn’t trade last week, which probably put added pressure upon regional prices as a result. Wire services reported a plunge from $172/cwt (cents/pound) two weeks ago to $164 this morning. That’s about $2.00 lower than last week’s Nebraska prices. Traders sold actively in response, but the nearby contract proved surprisingly firm late in the day. February live cattle dipped 0.27 cents to 162.57 cents/pound at Thursday’s CME close, while April tumbled 0.80 to 162.10. January feeder cattle futures plunged 3.00 cents to 228.60 cents/pound, as did January feeders, to 224.25.

The hog and pork complex continued struggling. After inching higher the past two days, the CME lean hog index is expected to slip when officially quoted tomorrow. Today’s futures losses and the discounts already built into early-2015 futures, indicate traders expect a supply glut and weak demand during the coming weeks and months. February hog futures ended Thursday having dipped 0.20 cents at 84.35 cents/pound, while June hogs fell 0.80 cents to 91.85.