Grain and soybean futures ended mostly higher in fairly light trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Livestock and meat futures were mixed, energy futures retreated and stock index futures declined.
Corn was the most consistent performer, showing strength throughout the session on rumors that the Soviet Union had purchased as much as 2 million metric tons of U.S. corn overnight, said Dale Gustafson, an analyst in Chicago for Drexel Burnham Lambert.
The Agriculture Department announced after the market's close that the Soviets had bought 350,000 metric tons of U.S. corn.
Soybeans lagged for the most of the day but ended mixed on a late surge of buying led by C&D Commodities, a major player in the soybean pit, analysts said.
Wheat ended slightly higher on talk of expected new export sales to European nations, Gustafson said.
Wheat settled 1/2 cent to 2 1/2 cents higher, with March at $3.17 a bushel; corn was 1/2 cent to 2 1/2 cents higher, with March at $1.99 a bushel; oats were unchanged to 1/2 cent lower, with March at $1.90 a bushel, and soybeans were 1 cent lower to 3 3/4 cents higher, with March at $6.24 3/4 a bushel.