Ag markets awaiting financial market news Friday morning

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Corn futures were narrowly mixed Thursday night on a general lack of news. The financial markets may make dominate headlines today after Bank of Japan depressed the yen versus the U.S. dollar. The markets are also looking forward to the release of the early morning U.S. Employment report, which might push prices in either direction. May corn futures slipped 0.5 cent to $6.295/bushel early Friday morning, while December lost 1.0 cent to $5.39.

Concerns about the impact of a bird flu epidemic in China seemed to weigh upon the soybean market again this morning despite a dearth of substantive news about its impact upon its chicken and swine herds. Growing South American supplies may also be dragging CBOT prices downward. May soybeans dropped 12.75 cents to $13.5925/bushel in electronic trading early Friday morning, while May soyoil slipped 0.15 cents to 48.40 cents/pound, and May meal lost $4.0 to $393.1/ton.

Indian news may have weighed upon wheat futures Thursday night. The country has continued efforts to provoke an export surge in order to reduce massive domestic stockpiles, but has gotten few takers in the absence of a significant price cut. If/when it lower prices to spark a big export push, that could undercut global markets. May CBOT wheat futures dipped 2.25 cents to $6.9175/bushel Thursday night, while May KCBT wheat sank 1.5 cents to $7.2025 and May MGE futures gained 0.5 cent to $7.87.

Disappointment with cash price levels seemed to depress cattle futures Thursday, but traders seemingly became a bit more optimistic Friday morning. The industry may be looking for sustained cash and wholesale strength over the next week or two as seasonal demand exceeds production only just recovering from annual lows. June cattle climbed 0.37 cents to 122.72 cents/pound in pre-dawn Friday trading, while December edged 0.10 cents upward to 129.15. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures added 0.32 cents to 146.27 cents/pound, and August gained 0.10 cents to 152.92.

Hog futures proved surprisingly weak overnight, especially after cash and wholesale markets rose moderately Thursday. Actually, the modest nature of the gains posted yesterday may be the problem for bulls; they were probably looking for the strong advances posted earlier in the week to continue into the weekend. Bulls were probably disappointed with the 3.9-cent daily rise in primal pork belly values, since the midday quote had stated fresh belly values 8.0 cents higher. A matching rise might boost pork cutout again this afternoon. The lightly traded May contract skidded 0.45 cents to 88.70 cents/pound in electronic trading early Friday morning, while June fell 0.57 cents to 91.45.

Cotton reportedly sold off in reaction to concerns about the economic outlook Thursday, especially after the weekly USDA Export Sales report disappointed. The decline continued early Friday morning as Japan moved to undercut the yen and boost the value of the U.S. dollar. The looming release of the monthly Employment report probably curtailed trading overnight. May cotton lost 0.32 cents to 88.01 cents/pound in early Friday morning action, while December set back 0.44 cents to 87.50.

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