Corn futures were steady on Friday in a quiet session that saw most contracts trade in a one penny range. Light short covering provided support but lagging exports and expectations for an increase in cash corn movement left futures clinging to chart support at the contract lows as the week ended. The March corn contract was unchanged at $1.95 3/4 Friday.



Soybean futures closed slightly lower Friday after an early rally attempt failed to attract follow through support. Favorable crop prospects in South America are keeping downward pressure on the market. March soybeans closed down 1 3/4 cents at $5.14 while the May contract was a penny lower at $5.13.



Wheat futures were slightly higher Friday on short covering ahead of the weekend. Despite the bounce Friday, mounting global market competition pressured futures to new contract lows at the all three exchanges this week. Chicago March wheat was 1/2 cent higher to close at $2.90 on Friday. KCBT March gained 1 1/2 cents to close at $3.24 1/2 while MGE March wheat was up 3/4 of a cent at $3.37.

Cattle futures finished the week on a firm note, closing from 2 to 52 points higher Friday. News that cash cattle were trading in the $89 to $89.50 in the southern Plains provided support. The Cattle Inventory report released Friday afternoon was slightly negative for the long term outlook. February futures were 52 points higher at $89.77 while the April live cattle contract gained 2 points to close at $87.67.



Live hog futures were narrowly mixed on the close following a rather volatile two sided session that saw the April contract swing in a 150 point range. Falling pork cutout values and expectations for a light Saturday slaughter pressured futures lower for the week. February lean hog futures closed 7 points lower at $74.12 Friday while the April contract slipped 2 points to $75.30.