CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Corn futures ended flat Tuesday, consolidating in the absence of fresh market-moving news.

Nearby Chicago Board of Trade July corn settled unchanged at $3.53 3/4, and December corn ended unchanged at $3.75 a bushel. Speculative funds were estimated buyers of 1,000 lots in corn. Fund activity is a measure of investment money flow in the market.

The corn market experienced choppy, two-sided activity in thin day-session trade, unable to generate momentum in either direction. The price action was a reflection of a market that has adequately priced in all its fundamental features, said Shawn McCambridge, senior grains analyst with Prudential Bache Commodities LLC in Chicago.

The market is seemingly biding its time until a new fundamental influence emerges, he added.

Futures garnered support from lingering concerns about dryness in China corn-growing regions, an issue that could lead to additional corn purchases from the Asian nation. China is a non-traditional buyer of U.S. corn, but has been a recent purchaser of U.S. supplies due to weather-related planting issues in China.

Supportive outside market influences, with a weaker U.S. dollar and firm energy futures, buoyed prices as well. However, favorable near-term weather for developing corn crops and improved crop ratings for U.S. corn provided offsetting pressure to keep prices hovering near unchanged levels throughout the day.

A consolidative theme looks to shape the corn market until some new fundamental feature surfaces to provide price direction, McCambridge said.

CBOT oats ended sharply higher Tuesday, rallying for the sixth-consecutive trading day. The threat of Canadian oat acreage being cut due to heavy rains delaying seedings served as a bullish feature, briefly sending prices to their upper daily-trading limits for the second day in a row.

The U.S. imports almost as much oats as it produces, with the bulk of the imports coming from Canada, McCambridge said. The threat of lost production potential from Canada leaves little room for error in U.S. output to cover the domestic needs of U.S. end users, he said. The market had amassed a large short position before the threat of lost Canada output surfaced, so traders that had bet on prices declining further rushed to cover short positions. July oats settled 27 cents, or 10.9% higher, at $2.74 per bushel.

Ethanol futures settled higher, rising with firmer energy futures. July ethanol settled up $0.008 or 0.5% to $1.605 a gallon.


-By Andrew Johnson Jr., Dow Jones Newswires; 312-347-4604; andrew.johnsonjr@dowjones.com