Ag markets proved decidedly mixed Friday morning

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Corn futures turned decidedly lower Friday morning. Corn futures rose quite modestly Thursday despite strong export news and the destruction of an airliner over a rebel-held area of Ukraine. The uncertainty of the latter situation seems likely to affect prices in the coming days and weeks, but the muted reaction to those events has apparently persuaded traders that it’s not a big issue. September corn slumped 4.0 cents to $3.75/bushel late Friday morning, while December lost 3.5 cents to $3.8375.

Good export news is supporting the soy complex. Soybean and product futures firmed Thursday night, possibly due to rumors of export demand. Indeed, the USDA announced a sizeable bean sale to China and much larger sales unknown destinations this morning, thereby supporting prices. However, meal proved surprisingly weak; that may simply reflect the unwinding of crush spreads as oil rallies. We’ve seen no particularly bearish news. August soybean futures bounced 5.75 cents to $11.805/bushel as lunchtime loomed Friday, while November futures edged up 2.5 cents to $10.965. August soyoil advanced 0.45 cents to 36.82 cents/pound, while August soymeal slid $1.5 to $379.0/ton.

Wheat futures have given back Thursday’s gains. Wheat futures reacted strongly to Thursday’s Ukraine news, but slipped later in the day. The underlying suggestion that the event won’t greatly affect Black Sea wheat trading seemed to coalesce this morning, as indicated by the sizeable losses posted as the lunch hour approached. Talk that U.S. winter wheat yields have improved as the harvest advances may be depressing KC prices. September CBOT wheat dove 15.25 cents to $5.355/bushel around midsession Friday, while September KC wheat tumbled 13.5 cents to $6.355/bushel, and September MWE wheat sank 4.25 cents to $6.3275/bushel.

Cash firmness is again supporting cattle futures. Mixed beef prices and bearish summer expectations seemed to undercut cattle futures Thursday night. However, belated news that packers had paid firm prices for country cattle again Thursday seemed to spark fresh Chicago gains this morning. August live cattle jumped 1.12 cents to 151.77 cents/pound in late Friday morning action, while December climbed 0.55 cents to 154.40. Meanwhile, August feeder cattle surged 0.85 cents to 212.45 cents/pound, and October rallied 0.45 to 212.80.

CME hogs are trading quite mixed. Ideas that recent cash market slippage presages much more of the same are weighing on nearby hog futures this morning. However, the December future bounced modestly, thereby serving as a reminder of general late-year bullishness. August hog futures plunged 1.72 cents to 127.12 cents/pound late Friday morning, while December inched up 0.12 cents to 103.02.

Cotton futures proved surprisingly weak Friday morning. ICE cotton values rallied in the face of Ukrainian events and slumping equity markets Thursday. That seemingly set the stage for continued strength today, especially with stock indexes suggesting no economic fallout from yesterday’s events. Nevertheless, cotton futures declined this morning. December cotton skidded 0.05 cents to 67.60 cents per pound shortly before noon (EDT) Friday, while March futures slipped 0.02 to 68.21 cents/lb.

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