Corn traders may have squared positions before the weekend. After exhibiting considerable strength over the previous week, corn futures declined Thursday and continued sliding today. There was little fresh news, and the financial markets essentially stalled. Thus, today’s corn slippage probably resulted traders and funds squaring positions before the weekend and next Tuesday’s important USDA reports. May corn futures slipped 0.25 cent to $3.91/bushel at Friday’s CBOT settlement, while December stalled at $4.1475.

The soy complex traded mostly lower. Soybean and product futures ended Thursday’s CBOT session generally mixed. In contrast, virtually the whole complex moved lower Friday, with big crude losses weighing heavily on soyoil quotes. Bears appeared to be prowling the bean pit in anticipation of a big increase in soy plantings on Tuesday’s USDA report. Demand strength seemed to limit meal losses. May soybean futures closed 7.25 cents lower at $9.6725/bushel Friday afternoon, while May soyoil dove 0.57 cents 30.60 cents/pound, and May meal skidded $1.0 to $321.4/ton.

The wheat markets posted impressive gains Friday. Wheat futures were swamped by bearish news Thursday, with a poor Export Sales result and improved southern Plains moisture being the most pertinent factors. Conversely, the markets marched higher today, which suggests bears were taking profits before the weekend and next Tuesday’s USDA news. May CBOT wheat rebounded 8.5 cents to $5.0775/bushel to end the week, while May KC wheat surged 10.00 cents to $5.53/bushel, and May MWE wheat vaulted 11.75 to $5.75.

Cattle traders may have anticipated cash firmness. Cattle futures traded weakly Thursday, with suspicions of short-term wholesale slippage being the likely cause. However, CME prices rebounded today despite weak midsession beef quotes. The rally suggested traders were leaning toward another strong close to cash market trading this week. April cattle futures climbed 0.95 cents to 162.62 cents/pound in late Friday trading, while August cattle ran up 0.90 to 149.95 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures leapt 2.05 cents to 219.27 cents/pound, and August feeders jumped 2.02 to 219.22.

CME hogs traded mixed before the report. The cash hog and wholesale pork markets ended Thursday on a strong note, which supported swine futures in early Friday trading. However, the Chicago gains dwindled as the day passed, with the deferred contracts dipping below unchanged levels at the close. Talk of big supplies on the quarterly Hogs & Pigs report (due at 2:00 PM CDT) probably undercut prices. April hog futures ended Friday having risen 0.15 cents to 61.12 cents/pound, while June hogs slid 0.15 to 75.00.