Corn futures posted solid gains on Friday. Another strong week of export sales and gains in outside markets such as crude oil and gold supported the rally. Export sales exceeded expectations to total 58.7 million bushels. March settled 4 3/4 cents higher at $2.27 3/4. May futures closed 5 cents higher at $2.38 3/4.



Soybean futures closed higher on Friday, but bearish fundamentals are still in the background. Technical buying and a surge in gold and energy prices offered support as traders were evening positions ahead of the weekend. March settled 5 1/2 cents higher at $5.77 1/4. May ended 5 1/2 cents higher at $5.90 1/4.



Wheat futures closed steady to higher on Friday. Dry weather in the Plains continues to lend support but uncertainty about Iraq's buying plans kept buyers cautious. Futures are still in an uptrend but market volatility will increase in the next weeks. CBOT Mar was 2 cents higher at $3.68 1/4. KCBT Mar was unchanged at $4.34. MGE Mar was up 2 1/4 cents at 4.18.



Cattle futures slipped to five month lows on Friday. The disappointing cash market and caution ahead of the Cattle on Feed report weighed on prices. The report is bearish with January placements up 16% and on feed numbers up 7% from last year. April fell 48 cents to $87.00 and June was 60 cents lower at $82.13.



Lean hog futures closed lower on Friday. Cash hog prices have turned lower over the last couple of days and the lower cash bids are dragging down futures. With each day the charts look a little more negative which leads to speculative selling. April ended 53 cents lower at $61.43 and June was 48 cents lower at $69.83.