Ag markets were decidedly mixed Thursday night

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Corn slipped in Thursday night trading. Little significant grain and soy news emerged overnight, which probably caused traders to think about technical and pragmatic aspects of the situation. The nearby May corn future had failed to break out above recent highs Thursday, so with the big USDA Grain Stocks and Prospective Plantings reports due for release next Monday morning, long-liquidation seemed to dominate market action. May corn inched 1.25 cents lower to $4.9075/bushel early Friday morning, while December sagged 0.25 to $4.8775.

The soy complex was mixed early Friday morning. As in the corn market, soybean futures suffered from a lack of overnight news. Firm Asian palm prices seemed to boost soyoil values, but beans and oil declined modestly. Again, that seemed to mark widespread position squaring ahead of next Monday’s widely anticipated USDA reports. May soybeans slipped 1.0 cent to $14.355/bushel in pre-dawn Friday action, while May soyoil gained 0.18 cents to 40.61 cents/pound, and May soymeal dipped $1.1 to $469.4/ton.

Wheat may also have been hit with long liquidation. After seeming to surge in response to downgraded weather forecasts Thursday, the wheat markets suffered sizeable setbacks last night. As in the corn and soy markets, there was little fresh news. The fact that golden grain prices have rallied strongly in recent weeks suggests they may be more vulnerable to long liquidation than their Chicago counterparts. May CBOT wheat futures fell 7.5 cents to $7.03/bushel in early Friday trading, while May KCBT wheat futures dove 8.25 cents to $7.755 and May MWE futures tumbled 8.25 cents to $7.46.

Big beef losses are weighing on the cattle market. Cattle futures were clearly supported by this week’s cash market push to record highs. However, beef cutout values fell sharply Thursday afternoon, which almost surely caused the CME losses posted overnight. April cattle futures sank 0.50 cents to 145.97 cents/pound in Thursday activity, while August slid 0.32 cents to 135.10. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle dropped 0.77 cents to 178.72 cents/pound, and August lost 0.80 to 180.37.

Thursday cash strength is boosting hog futures. After suffering a big early-week setback, hog futures rebounded strongly Wednesday and Thursday. Ultimately, renewed cash market gains are likely powering the rise, although pork quotes are now showing signs of weakness. That probably limited the overnight follow-through. April hog futures surged 1.05 cents to 126.52 around dawn Friday, while June leapt 2.07 to 131.37.

Cotton futures are holding up surprisingly well. Chinese officials have made several announcements indicating they’re intent on reducing their massive government stockpile in the coming months, with a big drop in domestic prices seeming a primary mechanism for doing so. Nevertheless, ICE cotton futures have held up well in the face of that news. Domestic tightness, as well as considerable equity strength, may be supporting the market. May cotton rallied 0.92 cents to 93.48 cents/pound just after sunrise (EDT) Friday, while December cotton advanced 0.37 to 79.82.

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