Most ag markets ended the week on a bearish note

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The robust result of the monthly Employment report sent the equity markets to record highs Friday, which in turn seemed to prompt widespread liquidation of commodity positions as investor concerns about inflation faded. Corn futures seemed to fall victim to that selling in the wake of recent gains. Indeed, profit-taking apparently hit the market despite price-supportive conditions. July corn slipped 0.75 cents to $6.6125/bushel at its Friday afternoon close, while December fell 5.5 cents to $5.535.

In contrast to the grain losses suffered Friday morning, soybean futures rebounded from their mid-week decline. Bearish traders may have been taking profits on previously established short positions, especially with the old-crop situation remaining very tight. Otherwise, not a great deal had changed from Thursday. July soybean futures closed 15.0 cents higher at $13.8725/bushel Friday, while July soyoil leapt 0.78 cents to 49.27 cents/pound, and July soybean meal inched up $0.3 to $406.5/ton.

Wheat futures sank Friday in apparent response to the results of the Wheat Quality Council tour of Kansas winter wheat fields concluded Thursday. Their crop estimate, at 313.1 million bushels fell well short of the average forecast stemming from the past five tours (at 341.3 million) and the actual 2012 figure (at 382.2 million). However, the result very likely exceeded earlier expectations, thereby rendering the market vulnerable to a setback. July CBOT wheat futures sank 7.5 cents to $7.21/bushel at its Friday settlement, while July KCBT wheat dove 13.25 cents to $7.78 and July MGE futures declined 5.25 cents to $8.19.

Cattle futures reportedly set back early Friday morning as bulls took profits on recent gains, then accelerated downward in reaction to talk that wholesale prices have lost their upward momentum. Many traders may also think the ongoing surge will end in the near future, with cash and wholesale prices declining sharply soon thereafter. June cattle plunged 1.82 cents to end the week at 121.82 cents/pound, while December lost 1.57 cents to 126.90. August feeder cattle futures plummeted 2.15 cents to 147.50 cents/pound, while November skidded 2.15 cents to 152.12.

CME lean hog futures were steady to weak Friday morning, with most contracts declining rather significantly. Mixed cash quotes probably played a role in the general weakness, but disappointment with the monthly export data published around midmorning seemed to exert considerable pressure as well. June hog futures settled 0.65 cents lower at 92.17 cents/pound Friday, while December futures inched 0.25 cents higher to 78.90.


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