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Market Recap: Grains & Oilseeds Mark Gains Going into Holiday Weekend

U.S. lean-hog futures fell modestly, paring back some losses on profit-taking ahead of the extended holiday weekend. April hog futures dipped 7 to 84.25, May hogs shed 35 to 91.62.

U.S. live-cattle futures rose Friday, supported by sentiment that a midweek selloff left the market undervalued. Although concerns persist about beef demand, some market watchers think prices may have reached a bottom last week. February live-cattle futures added 6 to $126, Most-active April futures picked up 67 to $130.

At the livestock auction held Thursday at Smithfield a total of 385 cattle and no goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended $0.50 to $7.00 higher, feeder steers trended $10.00 to $16.00 lower, and heifers trended mixed when compared to the sale last week. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $75.00 to $83.50. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $92.0 with high dressing up to $98.00.

U.S. grain and soybean futures finished higher Friday, fueled by technical buying and positioning before an extended holiday weekend. The unifying theme across grain and soybean futures was profit-taking Friday, as traders booked some profits and reduced risk on prior bets that prices would decline. U.S. soybean futures ended higher, climbing on the technically based buying and lingering worries about tight U.S. supplies. Corn futures finished higher on technical buying after previously declining for 10 consecutive days. Wheat futures closed higher, fueled by some traders' views that the market's recent selloff was overdone.

March soybeans finished up 6 1/2 at $14.24, March corn ended up 4 at $6.98, March wheat in Chicago ended up 10 1/4 at $7.42, and Kansas City Board of Trade March wheat rose 2 1/2 to $7.77.

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 4 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.18-$7.78 at feed mills and $7.14-7.78 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 6 cents higher and were $14.34 at processors, and $13.64-$14.05 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $454.40 per ton for 48% protein.

Cotton futures wobbled around both sides of even Friday as the market continued to consolidate after its recent rally to seven-month highs. March cotton gained 48 to 81.50, and the May contract gained 40 to 83.19.

Gold prices hovered above $1,600 Friday, having slipped below that level for the first time in six months after regulatory filings showed that several high-profile fund managers cut back their bullion holdings. April Gold fell $26 at a six-month low of $1,609.50, and March silver closed at $29.84, down 50.4 cents.

U.S. oil futures prices tumbled Friday as concerns about a stalling European economy sparked some profit-taking ahead of the long weekend. News from overseas gave the market little reason to hope for an improving economy and more oil demand. March crude oil fell $1.45 to $95.86 a barrel, March gasoline gained 1.79 cents to $3.13, March distillate futures finished the week at $3.21 a gallon.

An early bargain-hunting rally lost steam Friday, sending natural-gas futures prices to a fresh five-week low on worries over high inventory levels. March nat gas fell 1 to $3.15.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 dipped in a late decline on Friday as Wal-Mart dropped following a report of a weak start to February sales, though the index just barely extended its streak of weekly gains to seven. The Dow gained 8 to finish the week at 13,981, the Nasdaq closed at 3,192, down 6 and the S&P 500 fell 1 to 1,519. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.