Ag markets are generally mixed in early Friday trading

Technical forces and weather are weighing on corn futures Friday morning. Heightened Black Sea tensions are supporting the grain markets at this point, but corn futures proved unable to build upon Thursday's advance. The fact that the nearby contracts are bumping up against moving average resistance may partially explain the late weakness, but persistently fine weather can't be helping the bullish cause. September corn sank 0.75 cent to $3.61/bushel Thursday night, while December slid 1.25 to $3.68.

The soy complex is following recent patterns. Soybean and meal traders continue reacting to talk of strong demand, with old-crop futures climbing strongly and the new-crop contracts generally following. Meanwhile, overnight losses posted in Asian palm oil prices are weighing on the soyoil market. September soybean futures vaulted 14.0 cents to $10.8775/bushel soon after dawn Friday, while November futures advanced 3.0 cents to $10.3175. September soyoil dipped 0.09 cents to 32.55 cents/pound, whereas September soymeal rallied $3.0 to $436.2/ton.

The wheat markets are still reacting to Black Sea events. Russian troops apparently moved into Ukraine Thursday, thereby greatly increasing the possibility of a real war. Given the potential damage the conflict might do to grain production and exports from that region, the bullish wheat reaction was hardly surprising. September CBOT wheat gained 3.75 cents to $5.6025/bushel in early Friday trading, while September KC wheat slipped 1.0 cent to $6.34/bushel, and September MWE wheat rose 3.0 to $6.15.

Cattle traders seemingly expect firming cash bids. Although wholesale prices proved quite weak again Thursday, CME futures rallied strongly and continued mostly higher overnight. The surge very likely reflects increased chances of a relatively steady result to this week's cash trading. October live cattle futures climbed 0.32 cents to 150.42 cents/pound early Friday morning, while December futures added 0.30 to 153.00. Meanwhile, September feeder futures stalled at 217.15 and November futures edged up 0.10 to 213.02.

Thursday's pork rebound is supporting hog futures. Although cash hog prices remained weak Thursday, pork cutout values rebounded modestly from Wednesday's big losses. The latter development very likely encouraged bulls anticipating a seasonal bounce next month. October hogs surged 0.72 cents to 96.20 cents/pound as Friday dawned over Chicago, while December gained 0.47 to 90.85.

Cotton futures began Friday rather weakly. The weekly Export Sales report seemed bullish for cotton prices, but talk of increased Chinese production more than offset the positive news. Futures continued Thursday's late slump overnight, but nearby futures are likely to be supported by short-to-intermediate-term moving averages at slightly lower levels. December cotton futures sagged 0.56 cents to 66.02 cents/pound shortly after sunrise Friday, while March futures dropped 0.64 cents to 66.54.


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