Ag markets posted a general advance Friday morning

News of fresh export sales barely budged corn futures Friday morning. The USDA announced the sale of 141,200 tonnes of corn to unknown destinations this morning, but CBOT prices hardly moved. That probably reflects industry position squaring ahead of next Monday's USDA Crop Production and WASDE reports. March corn edged up 1.75 cents to $4.4475/bushel by late Friday morning, while May gained 1.75 to $4.4975.

Financial market action may be supporting soybeans. Friday morning talk of improving Brazilian rainfall and domestic cash weakness seemed likely to sink the soy complex, but beans proved surprisingly firm. Traders may be adjusting positions ahead of next Monday's USDA reports, but they may also be reacting to today's stock market strength in the wake of the disappointing Employment report. Dollar weakness is also supportive. March soybeans rose 0.25 cents to $13.26/bushel around midsession Friday, while March soyoil added 0.11 cents to 38.77 cents/pound, but March soymeal slid $1.7 to $444.3/ton.

Wheat bulls are trying to build on recent gains. News of substantially reduced winter wheat condition rating on monthly reports sparked this week's wheat advance. Futures dipped Thursday, but are recovering today. This may represent short-covering ahead of Monday's USDA data, but one might also point to bullish technical action. March CBOT wheat futures climbed 3.0 cents to $5.8375/bushel in late Friday morning action, while March KCBT wheat futures ran up 5.75 cents to $6.545, and March MWE futures gained 3.5 to $6.4175.

Late morning cash firmness likely boosted cattle futures. Nebraska cattle traded lightly at sharply lower prices Thursday afternoon, which seemingly reflected bearish short-term expectations. However, CME prices turned sharply higher late Friday morning, which almost surely reflected firming bids from beef packers. This likely presages reports of relatively firm cash trading later in the day. April cattle futures jumped 0.90 cents to 139.97 cents/pound just before lunchtime Friday, while August lifted 0.32 cents to 130.05. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle surged 0.55 cents to 168.55 cents/pound, and May ran up 0.37 to 168.95.

Hog futures may have benefited from spillover strength. Cash hog and wholesale pork prices proved mixed Thursday afternoon, which seemingly caused similar confusion at the CME overnight. However, hog futures turned moderately higher this morning. That may have reflected concurrent equity market strength (and optimistic implications about the economic outlook) as well as the late-morning cattle surge. April hogs climbed 0.35 cents to 94.55 cents/pound late Friday morning, while June increased 0.20 to 105.25.


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