Ag markets proved quite mixed at Friday's close

Corn posted a late-Friday surge. After trading firmly early Friday morning, corn futures turned downward in concert with soybeans around midsession. But yellow grain prices posted a late rally, which may have reflected demand-based optimism, as well as pre-weekend position squaring. March corn closed 4.75 cents higher at $4.4525/bushel Friday, while May gained 4.25 to $4.5075.

Profit-taking seem to spark Friday's soybean reversal. Soybean traders seemingly ignored several negative developments as they pushed CBOT prices higher this week. Thus, it wasn't terribly surprising to see prices reverse quickly when bulls started taking profits on recent gains Friday morning. The weak close may bode rather ill for next week's action. March soybeans fell 6.75 cents to $13.375/bushel at their Friday settlement, while March soyoil tumbled 0.39 cents to 39.15 cents/pound, and March soymeal slid $2.8 to $450.0/ton.

Wheat futures held on to gains Friday afternoon. The soybean reversal appeared to weigh upon wheat futures as Friday passed, but golden grain prices at the various exchanges remained in positive territory at the end of the day. The firmness probably reflected weather concerns for the winter wheat crops, whereas spring wheat likely enjoyed support from Canadian transport issues. March CBOT wheat futures settled up 3.0 cents at $5.985/bushel Friday afternoon, while March KCBT wheat futures edged up 1.75 cents to $6.745, and March MWE futures rose 4.25 to $6.665.

Cattle futures set back sharply from Thursday's highs. Cash cattle prices rose to $142/cwt Thursday, thereby sparking strong CME gains. However, we suspect traders were actually somewhat disappointed by the cash result, since they thought producers would be able to wring even higher bids from packers. That probably explains the big Friday decline. April cattle futures plunged 1.30 cents to end the week at 141.60 cents/pound, while August sank 0.27 cents to 131.15. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle skidded 0.25 cents to 170.47 cents/pound, and May slumped 0.10 to 171.77.

Cash strength encouraged hog market bulls Friday. Although hog futures seemingly rose in concert with cattle Thursday, late-afternoon reports indicated considerable cash and wholesale strength in the hog and pork complex as well. That news, along with expectations for more of the same, almost surely powered Friday's CME gains. Morning cash strength also helped, while traders seemed to ignore the midday pork drop. April hogs jumped 1.25 cents to 96.17 cents/pound at Friday's close, while June surged 1.22 to 106.12.


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