Ag markets proved quite mixed Friday

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Long liquidation seemed to sink corn prices at Friday’s close. Corn futures tested technical resistance around recent highs Friday, which was rather surprising given the looming release of the USDA’s Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports next Monday morning. Indeed, position squaring in the form of long liquidation seemingly depressed prices at the week-ending close. May corn stabilized at $4.92/bushel in late Friday trading, while December slumped 0.75 to $4.8725.

Position squaring seemed to limit soy moved Friday. Traders in the soy complex were also anticipating next Monday’s USDA reports, but they seemed entirely unwilling to push the markets in either direction beforehand. Beans and the products all ended the week on a decidedly mixed note. May soybeans closed unchanged at $14.365/bushel as Friday’s pit session ended, while May soyoil gained 0.05 cents to 40.48 cents/pound, and May soymeal skidded $2.1 to $468.4/ton.

Improved weather prospects seemed to sink wheat futures. The latest weather forecasts suggest the Great Plains may see improved rainfall in early April, which rather obviously could boost wheat production prospects. That news apparently triggered widespread long liquidation, especially with the big USDA reports looming Monday. May CBOT wheat futures dove 15.0 cents to $6.955/bushel at their Friday settlement, while May KCBT wheat futures plunged 20.25 cents to $7.635 and May MWE futures tumbled 14.5 cents to $7.3975.

Big beef losses are limited CME cattle strength. Cattle futures were clearly supported by this week’s cash market push to record highs. However, beef cutout values fell sharply Thursday and again Friday morning, which almost surely capped rally attempts as the week ended. Futures rebounded from early lows, but ended mostly lower on the day. April cattle futures bounced 0.02 cents to 146.50 cents/pound to end the week, while August slumped 0.35 cents to 135.07. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle fell 1.15 cents to 178.35 cents/pound, but August lost just 0.12 to 181.02.

Hog traders were likely squaring positions ahead of the USDA report. After suffering a big early-week setback, hog futures rebounded strongly Wednesday, Thursday and again Thursday night. Renewed cash market gains likely powered the rise, although pork quotes showed signs of weakness. That news, along with concerns about the afternoon release of the quarterly Hogs & Pigs report apparently spurred widespread position squaring. April hog futures ended Friday having gained 0.10 cents to 125.57, while June had climbed 0.27 to 129.57.

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