Hog futures the only exception to ag market gains at midday

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Corn futures sustained their overnight bounce through midsession Friday. It was rather obvious that other factors were boosting the market, since there was very little pertinent fundamental or weather news available. Ultimately, the rebound was almost surely driven by profit-taking on the part of recent short position holders ahead of the three-day Presidents Day weekend. March corn had rallied 3.75 cents to $6.985/bushel in late-morning trading, while December rose 0.75 cents to $5.645.

Soybean futures also rallied moderately Friday morning, with widespread profit-taking very likely playing a major role in that rebound as well. The market also lacked for substantive news. Given the looming three-day weekend, we tend to doubt prices will shift much before the afternoon close. The fact that nearby futures face numerous layers of moving average resistance at modestly higher levels could limit the upside price potential as well. March beans climbed 3.75 cents to $14.2075 late Friday morning, while March soyoil edged 0.18 cents lower, to 51.50 cents/pound, and March meal gained $1.2 to $408.4/ton.

Wheat futures also lacked for news, so it was not very surprising to see that market post short-covering gains as well Friday morning. One might argue that news of a major Brazilian purchase of U.S. product and talk of improved Indonesian buying supported the market, but we think short-covering was also the driving force in the wheat pits. Traders will probably reconsider their positions when trading resumes next Monday. March CBOT wheat futures surged 6.0 cents to 7.38/bushel before noon Friday, while March KCBT wheat inched just 1.75 cents to $7.7675, and March MGE futures ground out a 2.25-cent increase to $8.215.

Cattle futures continued rising after rebounding from eight-month lows Thursday. The latest cash and wholesale markets do not seem very supportive of a sustained advance, but it is entirely possible that the early-2013 breakdown across the cattle/beef complex will spark renewed demand interest in time to exaggerate the traditional late winter-early spring rally. April cattle climbed 0.60 cents to 130.37 cents/pound in late-morning activity Friday, while August advanced 0.52 cents to 126.57. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle surged 0.70 cents to 143.37 cents/pound, and August had jumped 0.77 cents to 157.00.

Hog futures proved the exception to the general bullish advance posted Friday morning. Unlike the other markets, the short-term technical picture in the swine pit looks unpromising, especially after the Thursday breakdown seemed to set the stage for a sizeable follow-through breakdown. Unfortunately for bullish interests, recent fundamental news has done little to support their cause. April hogs dropped 0.50 cents to 83.82 cents/pound Friday morning, while June dipped 0.20 cents to 92.50.

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