Corn traders may be squaring positions before the weekend. After exhibiting considerable strength over the previous week, corn futures declined Thursday and have continued sliding today. There’s little fresh news, and the financial markets have essentially stalled. Thus, we suspect today’s corn slippage is the result of traders and funds squaring positions before the weekend and next Tuesday’s important USDA reports. May corn futures slipped 1.5 cents to $3.8975/bushel late Friday morning, while December lost 1.25 to $4.135.

The soy complex is trading mostly lower. Soybean and product futures ended Thursday’s CBOT session generally mixed, with accelerated South American production apparently weighing on beans and meal, while soyoil following crude oil slightly higher. However, virtually the whole complex has moved lower today, with big crude losses weighing heavily on soyoil quotes. Bears are 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 fell 7.25 cents to $9.6725/bushel just before lunchtime Friday, while May soyoil dove 0.71 cents 30.46 cents/pound, and May meal skidded $0.6 to $321.8/ton.

The wheat markets moved higher Friday morning. 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 have today, which suggests bears are taking profits before the weekend and next Tuesday’s USDA news. May CBOT wheat rebounded 7.5 cents to $5.0675/bushel around midsession Friday, while May KC wheat added 6.75 cent to $5.4975/bushel, and May MWE wheat surged 7.75 to $5.71.

Cattle traders may be looking for cash firmness. Cattle futures traded weakly Thursday, with suspicions of short-term wholesale weakness being the likely cause. However, CME prices rebounded moderately this morning despite weak midsession beef quotes. One has to wonder if traders are now leaning toward another strong close to cash market trading this week. April cattle futures climbed 0.52 cents to 162.20 cents/pound in late Friday morning trading, while August cattle ran up 0.75 to 149.80 cents/pound. Meanwhile, April feeder cattle futures leapt 1.42 cents to 218.65 cents/pound, and August feeders jumped 1.45 to 218.65.

CME hogs are trading 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 morning passed, with the deferred contracts dipping below unchanged levels by midsession. Talk of big slaughter and big supplies on the quarterly Hogs & Pigs report is probably undercutting prices. April hog futures edged up 0.17 cents to 61.15 cents/pound as the lunch hour loomed Friday, while June hogs slid 0.12 to 75.02.