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Market Recap: South American Weather Scuttles Soybean Futures

U.S. lean-hog futures declined narrowly Friday, as a bearish supply view overtook some of the earlier technical buying by managed funds. February lean hogs fell 17 to 86.22, The April hog contract slid 32 to 89.85.

U.S. live-cattle futures fell Friday, retreating after a rally in which the front-month contract hit new all-time highs. February live-cattle futures settled 9 lower at $132, The April contract shed 55 to $136.

At the livestock auction held Thursday at Smithfield a total of 234 cattle and no goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended $4.50 to $5.50 higher, feeder steers trended $1.00 to $12.00 higher, and heifers trended mixed when compared to the sale two weeks ago. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $71.00 to $74.50.

U.S. soybean futures fell on Friday, pressured by higher estimates of last year's U.S. soy harvest and by favorable weather for soy crops in South America. Corn futures also fell, pressured by technical selling and by a high estimate from Informa for corn production last year. Wheat futures fell on the declines in soybeans and corn and on expectations for the USDA next week to report large U.S. plantings of winter wheat.

Thinly traded January soybeans fell 14 to $13.89, March corn fell 9 to $6.80, March wheat in Chicago fell 8 1/4 to $7.47, and March wheat in KC dropped 6 ¾ to $8.04.

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended mixed when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.00-$7.50 at feed mills and $6.90-7.40 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended mixed and were $13.67 at processors, and $12.83-$13.52 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $449.00 per ton for 48% protein.

Cabbage: Demand moderate. Market about steady. 50 lb cartons Round Green Type med 7.00- 8.00.

Bargain hunting late in the session helped cotton futures recover from a near 4-week intraday low. The dip below 74c/lb. encouraged some funds to get into the market and put on long positions ahead of the expected rebalancing next week. March cotton fell 11 to at 74.26, and the May contract fell 3 to $75.89.

Gold futures retreated as investors worried that the Federal Reserve may cut short the easy-money policies that helped drive prices of the precious metal to record highs in recent years. February gold closed at $1,648.90, down $25.70; March silver finished the week at $29.94, down 77.4 cents.

U.S. crude oil futures ended modestly higher Friday ahead of a major pipeline expansion which analysts said will lead to still-higher prices for the benchmark contract. February crude oil futures gained 17 cents at $93.09 a barrel, February distillates finished down 2.86 cents at $3.01 a gallon, and February gasoline fell 3.34 cents lower, at $2.76 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures gained Friday, rebounding off three-straight sessions of declines after government data showed a sharp decline in U.S. gas stockpiles. February Natural gas jumped 8.9 cents to $3.28.

On Wall Street, the benchmark S&P 500 index ended at a five-year high on Friday, lifted by reports showing employers kept up a steady pace of hiring workers and the vast services sector expanded at a brisk pace. The Dow gained 43 to 13,435, the Nasdaq closed at 3,101, up 1 and the S&P 500 gained 7 to 1,466. 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.