Ag markets decidedly mixed Friday morning

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The latest news kept the pressure on corn futures Friday morning. The corn market attempted an early-Friday rebound from losses posted earlier this week, but turned downward by late morning. News that China had rejected more U.S. corn shipments last week probably depressed prices, as did the disappointing result on the weekly Export Sales report. March corn futures dipped 2.0 cents to $4.185/bushel around midsession Friday, while May skidded 2.0 cents to $4.27/bushel.

Soybeans and meal firmed in late-week action. Soybean and product futures suffered losses that did substantial technical damage this week. However, the sheer size of the Tuesday-Thursday breakdown probably prompted short-covering in early Friday trading. Bulls were very likely encouraged by the bean and meal results on the weekly Export Sales report. In contrast, Asian palm oil weakness seemingly dragged soyoil futures downward. Late-morning stability in the face of a bearish industry report was rather impressive. March soybeans edged up 1.5 cents to $12.7125/bushel by late Friday morning, while March soyoil declined 0.10 cents to 38.70 cents/pound, and March soymeal bounced $1.6 to $407.9/ton.

The wheat markets staged a modest rebound this morning. After dropping rather sharply Thursday, the wheat markets appeared to find support early Friday morning. Short-covering probably played a role in the rise, whereas the Export Sales data was not helpful. Ultimately, Great Plains temperatures are expected to fall below zero degrees Fahrenheit early next week, which may be raising concerns about potential frost damage to winter wheat. March CBOT wheat futures rose 2.0 cents to $5.99/bushel just before lunchtime Friday, while March KCBT wheat futures moved up 3.75 cents to $6.35, whereas March MWE futures lifted 0.5 to $6.257.

Elevated cash prices are encouraging cattle bulls. Cattle futures turned decisively higher Thursday in response to news of a fresh upward push in country prices. Given those developments, as well as forecasts for arctic weather over the Great Plains early next week, CME prices sustained their advance overnight. However, beef prices weakened Thursday, which seemingly diminished bullish enthusiasm. February cattle futures gained 0.32 cents to 135.95 cents/pound by late Friday morning, while April futures ran up 0.47 to 136.27. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures surged 0.85 cents to 167.85 cents/pound, and May climbed 0.67 to 169.62.

Late Thursday reports seemed to undercut hog futures. Hog futures recovered from surprising late-December weakness Thursday, due in part to midsession reports indicating substantial cash and wholesale strength. However, the late afternoon reports proved less favorable, which probably explains the subsequent slippage. February hogs sagged 0.17 cents to 86.90 cents/pound Friday morning, while June lost 0.15 to 100.92.

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