Ag markets were mixed again Friday morning

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Corn futures remained under pressure Thursday night. The Chicago market got a modest boost from a strong result on the weekly Export Sales report yesterday, but the potential for benign midsummer weather is still weighing upon prices. However, traders may look to exit short positions before the weekend, since changing forecasts might send prices higher early next week. September corn futures slipped 2.5 cents to $5.385/bushel early Friday morning, while December sank 4.0 cents to $4.9675.

The tight old crop situation continues supporting the soybean market. Soybeans have to be feeling the same downward pressure from favorable summer weather, especially with corn leading the way lower. However, strength in nearby August futures, which almost surely reflects the current old-crop shortage, seemed to spill over into the deferred contracts in overnight trading. Soy bean oil is still feeling the effects of the bearish vegetable oil situation in Asia. August soybean futures climbed 11.5 cents to $14.8075/bushel in early Friday trading, while August soyoil added 0.02 cents to 45.54 cents/pound, and August soymeal surged $7.9 to $478.3/ton.

Wheat futures proved surprisingly firm in early Friday action. That may reflect the looming end of the winter wheat harvest, since other factors seem much less supportive. For example, a large sale of Black Sea what to Egypt emphasized the premiums built into the U.S. market, whereas the latest forecasts seem very conducive to a large spring wheat crop. September CBOT wheat rose 2.0 cents to $6.625/bushel as the sun rose over Chicago Friday, while September KCBT wheat edged up 0.5 cent to $7.0275 and September MGE futures added 0.75 cent to $7.51.

After surging upward Thursday, cattle futures posted a mixed showing overnight. Optimism about the second-half cash market outlook probably played a sizeable role in the rise, as did concurrent equity strength. However, the country markets are still struggling to put summer lows behind them, especially with the wholesale markets still sagging. Thus, a bullish follow-through is not assured. August cattle were steady at 122.10 cents/pound early Friday morning, while December skidded 0.07 cents to 128.80. August feeder futures ground out a 0.07-cent increase to 152.15 cents/pound, while November was unchanged at 157.90.

Western Corn Belt strength supported CME hogs Friday morning. Although the wholesale market continued its late decline amid expectations for more of the same during the weeks ahead, hog traders seemed more impressed by modest gains in the western Corn Belt cash markets. The fact that the CME index remains significantly above the nearby contracts is probably mitigating seasonal pressure as well. August hog futures rallied 0.07 cents to 96.70 cents/pound in early Friday morning trading, while December edged 0.10 cents higher to 82.65.

Cotton futures sustained their Thursday gains in overnight trading. Strength spilling over from stock indexes, which reached fresh all-time highs, probably sparked the advance, since such gains are traditionally viewed as harbingers of a robust economic outlook and vigorous consumer demand. Traders may be hoping for more of the same during the days and weeks ahead. October cotton gained 0.23 cents to 85.22 cents/pound just after sunrise Friday, while December moved up 0.16 cents to 85.01.


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