Ag markets seem set to end the week in mixed fashion

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Corn futures edged upward again Thursday night. The yellow grain market continues performing surprisingly well, which probably reflects the broad unwinding of outright short positions and spreads with corn on the short leg. Ultimately, traders are probably concluding that harvest lows are in and adjusting positions accordingly. March corn rose 1.25 cents to $4.3475/bushel early Friday morning, while May added 1.25 to $4.4325.

The soy complex proved mixed overnight. Soybean and meal futures are apparently suffering from sustained selling associated with strong production prospects for the major South American producers, which could improve the supply outlook in early 2014. However, the palm oil situation remains tight, so last night’s rise spilled over into the soyoil market. January soybeans fell 6.75 cents to $13.2125/bushel around dawn Friday, while January gained 0.05 cents to 40.66 cents/pound, and January soymeal slid $2.7 to $425.4/ton.

Ideas that this week’s wheat losses were overdone seemingly boosted wheat. Wheat futures bounced from major losses last week, then resumed their decline in response to Wednesday’s bearish Canadian news. However, traders were buying the market overnight, especially after nearby futures bounced from their late-summer lows. March CBOT wheat futures rebounded 1.5 cents to $6.5325/bushel in early Friday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures bounced 1.0 cent to $6.9625, and March MWE futures edged up 1.25 to $6.855.

Cattle futures stabilized after Thursday’s ugly breakdown. The cattle market had numerous reasons to break out to the upside Thursday, but fell sharply instead. The CME drop also prompted cash weakness across the Great Plains, thereby adding to the downward pressure. Bulls can take some comfort from the overnight firmness, but yesterday’s drop seemingly bodes ill for the short term outlook. February cattle futures inched up 0.05 cents to 132.95 cents/pound as Friday dawned over Chicago, and the April contract added 0.02 to 133.77. Meanwhile, January feeder cattle rose 0.05 cents to 164.17 cents/pound, while March feeders dipped 0.10 to 164.32.

Hog futures remained generally weak. This week’s decline in direct market priced continued Thursday, thereby weighing rather heavily upon CME futures, especially the expiring December contract. However, wholesale valued rebounded slightly from Wednesday’s big drop, which seemed to mitigate the losses in deferred futures. February hog futures declined 0.12 cents lower at 88.55 cents/pound early Friday morning, while June sank 0.25 to 99.25.

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