Commodities paused overnight after their general advance Thursday

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The markets seemed to consolidate overnight after having posted a broad advance Thursday. Corn futures dipped slightly despite talk that a cold front set to hit the Great Lakes region next week could hurt early-planted crops in that region. Early morning news of large Japanese corn purchases may have limited losses. May corn slipped 4.5 cents to $6.4075/bushel in early Friday morning action, while December slid 6.75 cents to $5.245.

Soybean futures were caught in the general downdraft early Friday morning despite supportive news from overseas. For example, Indian soybean futures hit contract highs overnight, while Asian palm oil prices posted a two-week high. There was also talk of tight soymeal supplies in China. Thus, the soy complex declines seen Thursday night might be quickly reversed Friday. May soybeans lost 0.75 cents to $14.2275/bushel early Friday morning, while May soyoil skidded 0.31 cents to 49.46 cents/pound, whereas May soybean meal added $0.1 to $414.4/ton.

The wheat markets were generally weak Friday morning after having surged Thursday. There seemed to be little news other than of a sizeable South Korean purchase, which probably prompted a good bit of profit-taking in the wake of the big Thursday advance. Traders may be wary of holding positions through next week, when the Wheat Quality Council tour of Kansas wheat fields takes place. May CBOT wheat futures dipped 4.5 cents to $6.9675/bushel in pre-dawn Friday trading, while May KCBT wheat lost 1.25 cents to $7.625, but May MGE futures gained 2.25 cents to $8.255.

Cattle futures advanced again in overnight trading as the industry anticipates higher cash prices today and possibly in early May as well. Ultimately, prospects for resurgent consumer demand in the wake of a dismal late winter-early spring season are encouraging optimism about the short-term outlook. June cattle climbed 0.20 cents to 123.10 cents/pound in early-Friday electronic trading, while December edged up 0.05 cents to 128.27. May feeder cattle futures gained 0.15 cents to 142.35 cents/pound, and August added 0.15 cents to 152.30.

The hog market also climbed modestly in early Friday morning trading. That was hardly surprising in the wake of the Thursday afternoon reports. Not only did cash prices increase sharply, substantial gains in pork loin and belly values boosted pork cutout significantly. The industry clearly expects much more of the same during the days and weeks ahead. May hog futures inched 0.02 cents higher to 89.00 cents/pound overnight, while the June contract added 0.15 cents to 91.97.

Cotton futures built upon their modest Thursday rebound overnight in spite of a general lack of news. Traders seemed to continue reacting to the robust result of the weekly Export Sales report, since the latest total topped comparable week-ago and four-week average levels by 13% and 46%, respectively. It was rather impressive to see cotton prices rise significantly despite the general market decline suffered in the early hours of Friday morning. Of course, cotton is rather depressed after having declined over 10% from its mid-March high. July cotton gained 0.67 cents to 83.90 cents/pound early Friday morning, while December rose 0.40 cents to 83.68.

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