CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Chicago Board of Trade corn futures ended a little lower Friday in a pullback from recent gains, with government reports on crop production and ending stocks weighing on prices.

December corn ended down 1 3/4 cents to $3.62 1/4 per bushel and March corn ended down 1 3/4 cents to $3.74 1/2.

The market traded back and forth on each side of unchanged throughout the day. The market was initially weak on the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports, which increased its production and ending stocks estimates.

But the numbers were not "hellaciously negative," said Jerry Gidel, analyst with North America Risk Management Services. "Basically, I think the weather forecast for next week, with moisture still in the forecast, in essence limiting our harvesting and potential progress, was probably the reason the market held together early," he said.

The trade is concerned about how much damage a freeze in the northwest corn belt and more rains elsewhere will do to the crop this weekend. The question, analysts said, is how far south and east the freeze advances.

One trader said he expects continued strength given that funds have re-entered the market the past several days. He added that the trade will continue to fret about harvest delays, although he added that "eventually they will harvest it, just as they always manage to grow it."

The December contract ended up 28 3/4 cents on the week.

Farm Futures analyst Arlan Suderman noted in a commentary that "December corn managed to spike above the 200-day moving average at $3.70-1/2 today, but could not hold prices at that level going into the weekend with the rest of the markets in a malaise of confusion."

A retest of that resistance will be the first objective of market bulls on Monday, he added.

CBOT oats futures were higher. December oats ended up 4 1/2 cents to $2.40 per bushel and March oats ended up 4 1/4 cents to $2.53 1/2.

Ethanol futures were lower. November ethanol was down $0.014 to $1.824 per gallon and December ethanol was down $0.016 to $1.771.


- By Ian Berry, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-341-5778; ian.berry@dowjones.com