Ag markets diverge just before the long holiday weekend

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Corn futures performed well early this week, especially in the wake of the bearish Crop Progress report released Monday afternoon. Thus, it was not terribly surprising to see prices dip Friday morning, since lots of traders were probably moving to the sidelines before the long holiday weekend. Resurrected talk of rainfall over the northern Plains and the Great Lakes region may have supported deferred futures. July corn slipped 4.75 cents to $6.5725/bushel at its Friday close, while December bounced 1.75 cents to $5.365.

Soybean futures were mixed Friday, with sliding July values reflecting the cash market impact (i.e. reduced demand and active producer sales) of the recent price spike. Conversely, gains by the new crop contracts seemed to represent a reaction to the potential for slower plantings later this month. July soybean futures dove 23.25 cents to $14.7625/bushel at the Friday settlement, while July soyoil dipped 0.42 cents to 49.24 cents/pound, and July soybean meal dropped $8.8 lower to $428.2/ton.

Wheat futures were probably ripe for pre-holiday profit taking Friday after having surged Wednesday and Thursday. Traders were simply less willing to hold onto positions ahead of the three-day weekend. That seemed especially true with the equity markets under substantial pressure throughout the early going. July CBOT wheat futures declined 5.75 cents to $6.975/bushel to end the week, while July KCBT wheat plunged 7.75 cents to $7.4575, and July MGE futures fell 6.75 cent to $8.0575.

After closing quite poorly Thursday, cattle futures bounced back strongly to end the week. Given the size of recent losses and their discounts to cash values, a pre-holiday Chicago rebound was not terribly surprising. The late surge almost surely reflected news of surprising cash strength around noon Friday. June cattle jumped 1.45 cents to 120.57 cents/pound as pit trading wound down Friday, while December surged 1.15 to 124.82. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle futures spiked 1.90 cents to 144.55 cents/pound, and November leapt 1.77 to 149.95.

Hog futures appeared ready to resume their spring advance Friday after dipping Thursday. That was rather surprising when late-Thursday cash and wholesale weakness was considered. However, the midsession pork report indicated substantial gains, which almost surely encouraged bulls. The concurrent cattle rally Friday afternoon probably prompted spillover buying as well. June hog futures climbed 0.67 cents to 94.87 cents/pound at its Friday close, while the December contract rose 0.55 cents to 79.95.


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