CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Chicago Board of Trade corn futures settled higher Tuesday, managing to trim some of Monday's sharp declines on technically inspired buying.

Nearby CBOT May corn ended 7 3/4 cents or 2.23% higher at $3.55 1/2 per bushel. July corn, which is also the most-active contract, ended 8 cents or 2.24% higher at $3.65 1/4. December corn ended 7 1/4 cents or 1.92% higher at $3.85 1/4.

Trader perceptions that Monday's heavy losses were overdone attracted short covering and bargain hunting to underpin futures throughout the session, analysts said. The inability of the market to challenge the lower end of the market's recent trading range attracted technical buying.

Spillover support from a bounce in crude oil futures provided some outside strength for the market, enabling futures to retrace a portion of Monday's sharp losses.

However, the upside potential was limited by bearish planting progress, as favorable weather conditions is allowing farmers to seed the 2010 U.S. corn crop at nearly a record pace.

U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Monday that 19% of the U.S. corn crop was planted as of April 18. This is up from the previous week's 3%, and above the average of 9% for this time of year. The crop was 5% planted at the same time a year ago.

Midwest weather conditions are not providing any problems for farmers at this point, but traders are keeping some of the seasonal risk premium in prices amid the uncertainty of the planting and growing season, said Sterling Smith, market analyst with Country Hedging in St. Paul, Minn.

Fresh speculative fund money coming into the market was a driving force behind the day's gains, as traders showed more desire to take on risk in the absence of bearish macro market influences, Smith added.

The DTN Meteorlogix weather forecast calls for favorable conditions for spring field work and planting to continue for the next three days, except for central Nebraska and Kansas, where rain will slow progress. Some planting delays are likely later this week due to rain and thunderstorms. However, the moisture will favor early developing corn, Meteorlogix said.

CBOT oat futures ended higher, with July oats finishing 2 1/4 cents or 1.06% higher at $2.15 1/2 a bushel.

Ethanol futures ended higher. May ethanol ended $0.017 or 1.10% higher at $1.565 per gallon, and July ethanol finished $0.022 or 1.39% higher at $1.605.


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