Traders seem to squaring positions in the crop markets Friday morning. Grain and soy prices reportedly sustained their Thursday advanced overnight, but have set back as the U.S. trading day gets underway. One has to suspect traders and funds are evening up their holdings ahead of the three-day weekend. March corn is testing major chart support associated with its short-term moving averages. March corn had sagged 2.5 cents to $4.255/bushel in pre-dawn Friday trading, while May lost 2.5 to $4.33/bushel.
The soy complex also suffered an overnight setback. Although the Argentine bean crop is being threatened by hot, dry weather and demand is proving robust, soybeans and products also declined overnight. A look at the March bean chart suggests traders are interpreting Thursday's price action as a technical sell signal and are acting accordingly. March soybeans dipped 7.0 cents to $13.08/bushel early Friday morning, while March soyoil slumped 0.16 cents to 37.89 cents/pound, and March soymeal sank $3.6 to $428.4/ton.
The wheat markets proved unable to build upon Thursday's advance. Weather maps suggesting wheat crops in the Great Plains may face renewed drought boosted KCBT and MWE futures Thursday, while CBOT wheat rallied in response to a sizeable purchase by Egypt. However, as with corn and beans, bulls couldn't build upon those gains last night. Again, this looks like position squaring before the three-day weekend. March CBOT wheat futures slid 2.5 cents to $5.7025/bushel in early Friday trading, while March KCBT wheat futures slipped 1.75 cents to $6.2775, and March MWE futures skidded 0.75 to $6.2325.
Cattle futures appear to suffering a technical setback. After rocketing upward in chasing record cash and wholesale prices this week, live cattle futures apparently reversed Thursday. Indeed, despite a Thursday afternoon leap in beef quotes, prices continued sliding overnight. Profit-taking and position-squaring ahead of the three-day weekend are probably weighing upon futures as well. February cattle futures fell 0.47 cents to 139.67 cents/pound as Friday dawned over Chicago, while April futures tumbled 0.57 to 138.65. Meanwhile, March feeder cattle futures dove 0.70 cents to 167.55 cents/pound, and May dropped 0.67 to 169.22.
Hog futures joined the general Friday morning slide. Cash hog prices have recently fallen short of expectations for seasonal strength, which seemingly rendered the market vulnerable to selling spilling over from the cattle pit Thursday. The losses continued overnight despite considerable firmness in the cash and wholesale markets Thursday afternoon. February hogs declined 0.10 cents to 86.77 cents/pound early Friday morning, and June matched that dip at 101.65.
Cotton posted a mixed showing Thursday night. The latest export news sent cotton futures soaring Thursday, with the nearby March contract breaking out of a three-week trading range. The nearby contract edged even higher overnight, but the July future declined significantly. As with the other ag markets, it looks as if traders are evening up their holdings ahead of the long MLK weekend. Chinese reports also confirmed diminished 2013 cotton imports. March cotton inched up 0.10 cents to 86.29 cents/pound just after sunrise (EST) Friday, while July cotton stumbled 0.17 cents to 85.70.