Ag markets quite mixed on Friday morning

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After surging on Thursday, the equity and commodity markets were under general pressure Friday morning. Corn futures were no exception. In addition to broad weakness undercutting prices, traders cited prospects for a good planting window in early May, which will almost surely see a torrid pace of seedings. That might get the bulk of the 2013 U.S. corn crop off to a good start after recent rains. May corn slipped 1.75 cents to $6.435/bushel just before lunchtime Friday, while December fell 7.0 cent to $5.2425.

Tight spot markets and strong basis levels continued supporting nearby soybean futures in the face of the general market decline Friday morning. Conversely, the deferred contracts dipped in concert with their many counterparts. Traders were quick to cite the potential for a shift from corn to soybean plantings in some areas if the planting window expected next week is not repeated at times during May. Others pointed to position squaring before the weekend. May soybeans climbed 6.25 cents to $14.2975/bushel late Friday morning, while May soyoil added 0.03 cents to 49.80 cents/pound, and May soybean meal added $2.9 to $417.2/ton.

After proving very strong Thursday, the wheat market seemed to suffer a relapse of recent weakness Friday morning. The negative tone to the various equity and commodity markets probably weighed upon prices, as did some profit-taking/position-squaring before the weekend. Having the Wheat Quality Council tour set to start Monday probably encouraged many to exit positions before those results start filtering into the market at that time. May CBOT wheat futures dropped 7.0 cents to $6.9425/bushel around midsession Friday, while May KCBT wheat lost 2.5 cents to $7.6125 and May MGE futures skidded 2.25 cents to $8.21.

Cattle futures were narrowly mixed late Friday morning as traders awaited the outcome of cash trading for this week. Producers and packers are clearly bargaining aggressively on animals likely to come out of feedlots this week. Futures incorporated a moderate rise in country values earlier this week, but the lack of cash action to this point has very likely prompted second thoughts on the part of many. Mixed midday wholesale quotes were not helpful either. June cattle edged 0.05 cents lower to 122.80 cents/pound just before the lunch hour Friday, while December skidded 0.22 cents to 128.00. May feeder cattle futures fell 0.27 cents to 141.92 cents/pound, and August tumbled 0.80 cents to 151.35.

The hog market sustained its recent advance Friday morning, despite the generally bearish market environment and mixed cash and wholesale news. Country prices east and west of the Mississippi River diverged significantly, while pork cutout dipped from its Thursday afternoon quote. Nevertheless, bullish traders have good reason to anticipate a major seasonal surge in cash hog and pork values during the coming weeks. May hog futures climbed 0.20 cents to 89.17 cents/pound around midday Friday, while the June contract surged 0.50 cents to 92.32.

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