Corn prices pull back as traders grab profits

AP News
Posted: Oct 18, 2010 3:12 PM
Corn prices pull back as traders grab profits

Corn prices fell for a fourth straight day Monday after hitting a two-year high last week.

"It's absolutely profit-taking" that's driving corn lower, said Jason Ward, an analyst with Northstar Commodity in Minneapolis. There was no change in fundamentals that would drive prices lower to start the new week, he said.

Corn for December delivery fell 5.75 cents to settle at $5.5725 a bushel. Corn hit its highest level since August 2008 on Wednesday when it touched $5.88 a bushel during the trading day.

Any pullback should help end users of corn, who have been stung by a recent surge in prices. Ward said companies that use corn for products like animal feed and ethanol have severely cut back their purchases because of the high prices. Even with Monday's retreat, corn is still up 20 percent since Oct. 1 on concerns about production levels.

Prices for other agricultural futures followed corn lower. Wheat for December delivery fell 14.5 cents to settle at $6.90 a bushel. Soybeans for January delivery fell 0.75 cents to settle at $11.95 a bushel.

Most energy prices rallied, led by crude oil.

December crude trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $1.87, or 2.3 percent, to $83.80 a barrel. In November contracts, heating oil rose 4.53 cents, or 2 percent, to settle at $2.2761 a gallon, while gasoline rose 4.77 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $2.155 a gallon.

Natural gas prices continued to plunge as supply remains high. Natural gas for November delivery touched its lowest level of the year during trading before settling down 10.4 cents, or 3 percent, at $3.431 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Gold, which had been consistently hitting record highs in the past few weeks, was little changed. December gold rose 10 cents to settle at $1,372.10 an ounce.

Silver for December delivery rose 12.5 cents to settle at $24.413 an ounce, while copper rose 1.6 cents to $3.855 a pound.