Corn futures rose modestly early Friday morning despite a general dearth of pertinent news. Substantial overnight gains in equity futures may have boosted the commodity markets, since such stock strength is often viewed as signaling forthcoming economic strength. Still, the grain markets probably will remain rather stable prior to the late-morning release of the monthly USDA WASDE report. May corn gained 2.5 cents to $6.9375/bushel in pre-dawn Friday trading, while December climbed 2.25 cents to $5.44.

Soybean futures also rallied modestly in early morning trading. The rise was probably limited by fresh weakness in Asian palm oil market, which dragged soybean oil downward, but, as with the grains, equity index gains seemingly signal improved demand down the road. The WASDE report is generally expected to be supportive of the soy outlook. May soybeans increased 2.0 cents to $14.755/bushel early Friday morning, but May soyoil edged 0.06 cents lower to 50.55 cents/pound; May meal advanced $1.9 to $438.0/ton.

Talk of improved rainfall over the U.S. Southern Plains next week apparently weighed upon wheat futures Thursday night, with KC hard red winter values leading the modest negative reaction. As with corn and soybeans, we do not expect much wheat price movement prior to the release of the WASDE report later this morning. May CBOT wheat futures slipped 2.25 cents to $6.9325/bushel in early Friday action, while May KCBT wheat fell 2.25 cents to $7.3225, whereas May MGE futures inched 0.75 cent lower to $7.9475.

Cattle futures were apparently supported by the ongoing rally in wholesale beef values Thursday, but signs of a slowdown seemingly weighed upon the Chicago market late in the day and again overnight. The fact that cash prices did not chase the wholesale market this week may also be stifling rally attempts. April cattle lost 0.27 cents to 124.17 cents/pound in pre-dawn trading, while August slid 0.12 cents to 125.12. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle skidded 0.10 cents to 142.52 cents/pound, and August declined 0.10 cents to 151.75.

After soaring Thursday, hog futures set back again early Friday morning. The fact that wholesale prices lost ground once again, as well as surprising cash market losses, probably account for the drop. Bulls may also have been taking quick profits in the wake of the big Thursday spike. April hogs dipped 0.52 cents to 81.27 cents/pound early Friday morning, while June fell 0.77 cents at 91.25.