Rainy weather may be starting to affect corn futures. The corn market seemingly had few reasons to rally this morning, especially with the stock market diving and the U.S. dollar rebounding. The yellow grain may simply be reacting to firm soy and wheat quotes, but one also has to wonder if today’s early strength reflects ongoing planting delays and forecasts for wet, cool weather into early May. May corn futures gained 2.75 cents to $3.79/bushel late Friday morning, while December added 2.0 to $4.0225.

Beans and meal firmed as the weekend looms. Although futures didn’t react quickly, the soybean and meal results on Thursday’s USDA Export Sales report were surprisingly good. Those markets posted a Thursday rally and have continued working higher today. The report seemed to remind the industry of the strength of underlying global protein demand. In contrast, today’s energy market losses are apparently dragging soyoil futures downward. May soybean futures climbed 2.5 cents to $9.685/bushel just before lunchtime Friday, while May soyoil slid 0.12 cents to 31.64 cents/pound, and May meal advanced $2.2 to $314.6/ton.

Wheat futures continued trading mixed overnight. Speculative/hedge buying seemed to boost Chicago wheat Thursday, whereas improved rainfall prospects apparently weighed on the KC and Minneapolis markets. We suspect fund short-covering is supporting CBOT wheat futures, but also suspect the latest weather models point to diminished short-term rainfall over the winter wheat areas. May CBOT wheat rose 0.5 cent to $4.95/bushel Thursday night, and May KC wheat gained 2.5 cents to $5.1075/bushel, but May MWE wheat skidded 0.5 to $5.345.

Cattle futures traded firmly Thursday. Deeply discounted CME cattle prices posted a big technical surge to start this week, but proved unable to top short-term moving average resistance Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday beef strength boosted futures yesterday, but uncertainty about this week’s cash action probably limited gains. Beef slippage posted Thursday afternoon doesn’t bode particularly well for today’s opening. June cattle futures rallied 0.32 cents to 152.00 cents/pound at Thursday’s Chicago close, while August cattle advanced 0.67 to 149.67 cents/pound. Meanwhile, May feeder cattle futures climbed 0.57 cents to 213.00 cents/pound, and August feeders lifted 0.45 to 214.67.

Recent spot gains supported CME hogs. The large premiums built into Chicago hog prices may make sustained spring advances somewhat difficult. Conversely, life gets easier for bulls if the cash and wholesale markets are surging. Spot gains Wednesday afternoon powered yesterday’s sizeable CME gains. However, late-Thursday quotes were weak, thereby implying a weak Friday morning opening. June hog futures surged 0.90 cents to 76.37 cents/pound at Thursday’s settlement, while December jumped 1.00 to 68.40.