Corn futures closed sharply higher on Friday. Short-covering following the losses earlier this week, support from outside markets, and forecasts for dry weather in Argentina next week helped rally futures ahead of the extended holiday weekend for traders. Fundamentally, the market remains bearish following USDA's downward revision to demand and upward revision to ending stocks this week. March closed 25 3/4 cents higher at $3.91 and May was 25 1/2 cents higher at $4.01 3/4.



Soybean futures were strongly higher on Friday. Weather problems in Argentina and continued strong export demand from China supported the market. After some light rainfall this weekend, hot and dry weather is forecast for Argentina next week. In export news, USDA reported sales to China in their daily reporting. March closed 25 1/2 cents higher at $10.20 and May was 25 3/4 cents higher at $10.29.



Wheat futures ended higher on Friday. The market was supported by spillover strength from corn and soybeans along with concerns that some of the winter wheat crop may have been damaged by the recent cold snap. Gains were limited by the recent sluggish pace of U.S. exports amid strong competition for sales globally. CBOT March ended 9 1/2 cents higher at $5.78 1/4, KCBT March was 14 3/4 cents higher at $6.09 1/4 and MGE March ended 11 cents higher at $6.52 3/4.



Cattle futures traded higher on Friday. Trading volume was light, but futures moved higher on position evening ahead of the three day holiday weekend for traders. Expectations for firm cash trade today following gains in boxed beef prices this week provided fundamental support. Choice beef prices were up 68 cents at midday and were at the highest level since December 1. February ended 18 cents higher at $84.53 and April was 38 cents higher at $87.68.



Lean hog futures closed slightly higher in most contracts on Friday. Corn prices came roaring back today, which provided some support. Short-covering was also a factor ahead of the three day holiday weekend following the big losses recorded earlier this week. February ended 13 cents higher at $59.95 and April was 18 cents higher at $66.03.