Corn futures closed lower on Friday. Forecasts for warmer and drier weather in the eastern Corn Belt over the next few days should be very beneficial for planting and early crop development, which weighed on futures. Profit-taking from the recent rally and weakness in equity markets added pressure. Export sales reported last week were neutral as old-crop sales of 18.6 million bushels fell within trade expectations. Losses were limited by weakness in the dollar. July was 12 1/2 cents lower at $7.54 and December was 8 3/4 cents lower at $6.86 1/4.
Soybean futures settled higher Friday. Light technical buying and talk that soybean acreage will fall short of earlier expectations were supportive to the market. Prices broke out above their two-month trading range on Thursday and moved higher again on Friday. With tight ending stocks projections, any potential short-fall in crop production will be magnified. Weekly export sales released this morning were neutral with combined old and new-crop sales of 5.7 million bushels at the low end of trade expectations. July was 7 1/2 cents higher at $14.14 1/2 and November was 4 1/4 cents higher at $13.97.
Wheat futures ended mostly higher Friday. Frantic short covering in the MGE July contract sent prices soaring higher as concerns about planting delays are mounting. Spillover strength from MGE helped lift the other wheat markets. Gains were limited by weakness in the equity markets from the bearish jobs data released this morning. Weekly export sales failed to support prices. The report covered the last week of the 2010-11 marketing year and old-crop sales were -1.1 million bushels. New-crop commitments were unimpressive at 12.4 million bushels. However, the MGE July contract is higher on further spring wheat planting delays in the northern Plains. CBOT July was 4 cents higher at $7.73 3/4, KCBT July was 5 1/4 cents higher at $9.14 1/4 and MGE July was 41 cents higher at $10.60 1/2.
Cattle futures finished higher Friday. The market turned higher midday as reports came in that cash cattle traded $1 higher at $105, versus trade earlier this week of $104. Adding support to front-end contracts were favorable packer margins. Prices were pressured much of the morning by bearish jobs data and weakness in the stock market. June was $1.58 higher at $104.18 and August was $1.43 higher at $105.10.
Lean hog futures ended mostly higher Friday. Prices turned higher as the markets shrugged off early session weakness from the bearish jobs data. Support stemmed from ideas that pork prices could strengthen next week due to the smaller slaughter this week and less pork. Packer margins are poor so for cash prices to improve much pork prices need to improve. June was 15 cents higher at $89.23 and July was 13 cents lower at $87.85.