Most ag markets ended the week on a downbeat

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The corn market gave back a large portion of its Thursday rally Friday. Wire service reports cited profit-taking by bulls, but technicians were probably selling in response to the nearby contracts’ failure to top short-term moving average resistance yesterday. Midsession forecasts for rain over dry areas of the Corn Belt next week added to the pressure. September corn dove 7.75 cents to $4.7375/bushel at Friday’s close, while December dropped 8.75 cents to $4.635.

The soy complex couldn’t sustain midsession gains Friday. A burst of strength in the vegetable oils apparently gave the whole soybean and product complex a boost Friday morning. However, predictions for improved rainfall next week, as well as negative technical factors dragged prices down to end the week. September soybeans settled 5.0 cents lower at $12.8325/bushel Friday afternoon, and November beans fell 6.25 to $12.5925. September soyoil tumbled 0.31 cents to 42.81 cents/pound, while September soymeal slipped $1.0 to $408.8/ton.

As has become rather routine lately, wheat futures followed corn to end the week. Traders cited the yellow grain’s malign influence, profit-taking and improved weather forecasts for the drop. Chart resistance also seemed to be a major issue for the wheat markets, so the sizeable losses were not terribly surprising. September CBOT wheat sank 6.5 cents to $6.31/bushel in late-Friday trading, while September KCBT wheat declined 4.75 cents to $6.9825, and September MGE futures lost 2.25 cents to $7.3725.

Cattle futures were mixed in volatile trade Friday. Prices were supported by recent wholesale strength and news that Merck has suspended sales of its Zilmax growth enhancer. Technical factors and concerns about demand strength in late August partially offset rally attempts. Most-active October cattle futures dipped 0.17 cents to 127.92 cents/pound in late Friday trading, while December gained 0.17 cents to 130.05. September feeder cattle bounced 0.60 cents to 157.67 cents/pound, and November rose 0.27 cents to 160.30.

Lean hog futures declined substantially Friday. Although cash and wholesale markets have proven stunningly strong lately, traders have apparently become concerned about the downside potential for the complex, because production routinely surges from midsummer through fall and pork demand diminishes after Labor Day. Today’s losses probably reflect those worries. October hog futures closed 0.57 cents lower at 86.72 cents/pound Friday afternoon, while December skidded 0.57 cents to 83.45.

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