Rainy weather may have affected corn futures. The corn market seemingly had few reasons to rally Friday, especially with the stock market diving and the U.S. dollar rebounding. The yellow grain may simply have reacted to firm soy and wheat quotes, but one also has to wonder if the early strength reflected ongoing planting delays and forecasts for wet, cool weather into early May. May corn futures rose 3.5 cents to $3.7975/bushel in late Friday action, while December added 3.0 to $4.0325.
The soy complex softened as the weekend neared. 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 sustained gains this morning. Today’s energy market losses apparently dragged soyoil futures downward. Indeed, big equity losses may also have exerted downward pressure upon the ag markets prior to their week-ending settlement. May soybean futures ended Friday having climbed 2.75 cents to $9.6875/bushel, while May soyoil slid 0.24 cents to 31.52 cents/pound, and May meal advanced $2.6 to $315.0/ton.
Wheat futures also weakened into Friday’s close. Speculative/hedge buying seemed to boost winter wheat futures as the weekend loomed, but the market ran out of steam Friday afternoon. Improved rainfall and weak demand prospects seemingly weighed on Minneapolis prices. Wire service sources cited late technical selling, but we also suspect long liquidation. May CBOT wheat stalled at $4.945/bushel at their Friday settlement, while May KC wheat inched up 1.0 cent to $5.0925/bushel, but May MWE wheat skidded 2.25 to $5.3275.
Cash losses sparked another breakdown in cattle futures. Today’s cattle events were quite similar to those seen last week, when talk of cash market losses sent Chicago prices tumbling. Weak midsession beef quotes seemed to trigger the CME drop, which then accelerated upon news of lower cash market declines. June and August cattle futures plunged the 3.00-cent daily trading limit, ending Friday at 149.00 and 146.67 cents/pound, respectively. Meanwhile, May and August feeder cattle futures plummeted the expanded 4.50-cent feeder limit to respectively close at 208.52 and 210.20 cents/pound.
Wholesale strength limited CME hog losses. Bullish seasonal expectations are built into hog futures, so divergences from an upward cash trend, as seemed to be the case this morning, tend to weigh on Chicago prices. However, midsession news of modest pork gains apparently limited the decline, since that encourages packer demand for swine. June hog futures slipped settled just 0.10 cents lower at 76.27 cents/pound Friday, while December sank 0.52 to 67.87.