Ag markets proved narrowly mixed Thursday night

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Corn futures seemed to follow wheat higher in early trading. Corn has recently appeared to echo movements in the wheat pits. For example, after turning lower in concert with soybeans last night, they bounced along with wheat in pre-dawn trading. Market action may also reflect talk that Chinese officials are building a major holding of the yellow grain against future needs; that could act as a drag on rally attempts over the long run. May corn rose 0.5 cent to $4.855/bushel early Friday morning, while December crept up 1.5 to $4.855.

The soy complex suffered a relapse last night. After dropping sharply earlier this week, soybeans came back somewhat Thursday. However, futures dipped again overnight, with traders still harboring concerns about the outlook in light of recent cancellations of Chinese orders for Brazilian beans and talk of much more of the same. Asian palm weakness also weighed upon soyoil futures. May soybeans slid 4.25 cents to $13.92/bushel as Friday dawned over Chicago, while May soyoil sagged 0.08 cents to 42.91 cents/pound, and May soymeal slumped $1.6 at $440.3/ton.

Traders again seem optimistic about the wheat outlook. Although wheat futures suffered a sizeable setback yesterday, the same production concerns and export optimism that powered recent gains seemed to come to the fore again overnight. The rise came despite news that Canadian officials and union representatives have reached a deal to end a strike at the Vancouver port. May CBOT wheat futures bounced 4.25 cents to $6.78/bushel in early Friday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures rallied 4.75 cents to $7.415 and May MWE futures added 3.25 to $7.2375.

The cattle market is awaiting cash news. After leaping upward and powering similar cattle gains in early March, wholesale beef prices have turned mixed the past few days. That loss of momentum has also translated to the CME cattle market, where nearby futures have moved generally sideways this week. Ultimately, short-term prospects depend heavily upon the outcome of this week’s cash trading, which is likely to take place later today. April cattle futures advanced 0.30 cents to 143.92 cents/pound in pre-dawn Friday action, while August edged down 0.05 cents to 134.72. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle inched up 0.27 cents to 176.20 cents/pound, and August gained 0.22 to 178.57.

Hog futures were mixed to lower in early Friday trading. Strong cash and wholesale gains sent hog futures soaring again Thursday, but the late afternoon reports gave signs of underlying weakness. Given the hugely overbought nature of the complex at this point, such signs can be quickly magnified. April hogs moved up 0.15 cents to 119.07 cents/pound Thursday night, while June climbed 0.35 to 127.95.

Cotton prices were narrowly mixed Thursday night. Although the domestic cotton situation seemingly remains quite supportive, Thursday’s big equity market breakdown spooked bulls in the ICE pit. Stock index futures were largely unchanged in early-morning action, which seemed to rob the cotton market of direction as well. May cotton rose 0.04 cents to 91.72 cents/pound just after sunrise (EDT) Friday, while December cotton sank 0.24 to 79.70.

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