Wheat prices dropped on Wednesday in U.S. trading as investors looked ahead to weekly export sales data tomorrow. The grain gave back some of its rally from yesterday with the slide.
May-stamped wheat contracts fell to $5.254 per bushel, down 7.2 cents on the session.
Traders awaited the Department of Agriculture's weekly export sales report, which is due at 8:30 a.m. ET on Thursday. Wheat sales are projected to be between 300,000 to 425,000 metric tons for the week ended March 26. Last week, sales were reported at 388,300 for the week ended March 19.
In other agriculture trading, corn fell 8.6 cents to $3.96 per bushel, soybeans were flat at $9.52 per bushel and cotton lost 0.32 cent to 46.15 per pound.
On the economic front, the National Association of Realtors said its index of pending home sales rose 2.1 percent to 82.1 in February from a reading of 80.4 in January. The increase by the index came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the reading to come in unchanged compared to the previous month.
Automatic Data Processing's monthly report showed that non-farm private employment fell by 742,000 jobs in March following a revised decrease of 706,000 jobs in February. Economists had expected a decrease of 663,000 jobs compared to the decrease of 697,000 jobs originally reported for the previous month.
Meanwhile, a Institute for Supply Management - Chicago report showed that the index of activity in the sector fell to 31.4 in March from 34.2 in February, with a reading below 50 indicating a contraction in the sector. Economists had been expecting the index to edge up to a reading of 34.3.
Earlier, the Mortgage Bankers Association revealed that its market index of mortgage application volume rose 3 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week of March 27th, following a 32.2 percent jump last week. The Market Composite Index was 1194.4 compared to 1159.4 in the previous week.
In other commodity trading, June gold rallied to $927.10, up $2.10 for the session. Prices hit as low as $927.50 in the early going. Gold for immediate delivery closed at $926.10, up $3.50.
Light sweet crude for May delivery dropped to $48.39, down $1.27 on the session. Prices touched as low as $47.26 a day after touching as high as $50.
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