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Corn & Wheat Prices Higher; Soybeans Down.

Closing Grain and Livestock Futures Prices

Mar. corn closed at $4.45 and 1/4, up 4 and 3/4 cents
Mar. soybeans closed at $13.37 and 1/2, down 6 and 3/4 cents
Mar. soybean meal closed at $450.00, down $2.80
Mar. soybean oil closed at 39.15, down 39 points
Mar. wheat closed at $5.98 and 1/2, up 3 cents
Feb. live cattle closed at $142.60, down 55 cents
Feb. lean hogs closed at $86.52, up 17 cents
Mar. crude oil closed at $100.30, down 5 cents
Mar. cotton closed at 87.55, down 5 points
Feb. Class III milk closed at $23.14, up 2 cents
Mar. gold closed at $1,318.80, up $18.60
Dow Jones Industrial Average: 16,154.39, up 126.80 points

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Market News ReCap

Soybeans were lower on fund and technical selling. The near term supply remains tight and demand continues to look strong, keeping the fundamentals pretty much bullish. Past that – there’s acreage position squaring against corn and the trade’s keeping an eye on exports and South American conditions. Soybean meal was mixed, consolidating, and bean oil was weak on the modestly lower tone in beans and crude oil. Commodity markets are closed Sunday night and Monday for Presidents’ Day, re-opening Monday evening.

Corn was higher on short covering, technical buying, and spillover from wheat. Demand’s solid, both export and domestic, but there’s a lot of corn on the market right now with an increase in farmer selling. In any event, there was no real fresh news for corn and contracts held within a pretty narrow trading range over during recent weeks. Ethanol futures were higher. The Buenos Aires Grain Exchange projects 2014 Argentine corn production at 23.5 million tons.

The wheat complex was higher on commercial and fund buying, along with the mostly lower dollar. The trade’s watching the chance for winterkill around the U.S. Plains and Black sea region, and the path of least resistance right now appears to be modestly higher. Minneapolis is also watching transportation problems around and shipping issues out of Canada. India’s government, via Dow Jones Newswires, estimates foodgrain production at a record 263 million tons, with wheat at an all-time high of 95.6 million tons.

The cattle business remained slow on Friday afternoon with the best market test evident in parts of Kansas and Texas. The Southern markets appear to be generally a $1.00 higher than last week’s narrow test at 142.00. Activity in the North was scattered with a few dressed sales near steady with last week’s weighted average basis Nebraska at 225.00 to 227.00. The weekly kill totaled 539,000 head, 22,000 smaller than the previous week and 52,000 less than 2013.

Boxed beef cutout values were weak on light demand and light to moderate offerings. Choice beef was down 1.12 at 207.68 and select was .80 lower at 206.96.

Live cattle contracts on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange settled 25 to 130 points lower. Even though market technical or fundamental changes were not seen, futures prices experienced aggressive pressure on Friday. The support that developed on Thursday created some widespread end of the week market positioning in front of the three day holiday weekend. Traders looked for profit taking opportunities more than short or long term fundamental direction. February settled .55 lower at 142.60 and April was down 1.30 at 141.10.

Feeder cattle ended the session 10 to 35 points lower on a combination of renewed late week buyer support in the corn market as well as aggressive pressure in the live cattle pit cause traders to quickly back away from Thursday’s rally. With markets closed Monday many traders appeared content to square positions following the sharp early week gains. March settled .25 lower at 140.47 and April was down .25 at 171.30.A big run of feeder cattle estimated at 7300 head at the Ogallala Livestock Auction in Nebraska on Thursday. Compared to two weeks ago, steers and heifers weighing less than 600 pounds were steady to 5.00 lower. Feeders over 600 pounds were steady to 7.00 higher. The demand was good on all weights. 532 head of feeder steers averaging 713 pounds traded at 187.37 per hundredweight. 440 heifers weighing 670 pounds averaged 182.32 at Ogallala.

Lean hogs settled 17 to 125 points higher. Strong support was evident through the nearby lean contracts with April showing the strongest gains. The focus on higher cash hog values as supplies start to tighten up significantly kept futures trader active through the session. The pressure in the cattle market did not appear to affect the lean market. Fe3bruary settled .17 higher at 86.52, and April was up 1.25 at 96.17.

Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed 3.24 higher at 88.63 on a carcass basis, the West was up 3.02 at 88.20, and the East was .14 higher at 81.49. Missouri direct base carcass meat price was steady at 78.00. Terminal hogs closed steady to 1.50 higher from 55.00 to 60 live.

The pork carcass value was down .84 FOB plant at 94.33.

Feeder pig receipts nationally this past week totaled 68,442 head. Early weaned pigs traded a 1.00 to 2.00 per head lower. All feeder pigs were 2.00 higher. The demand was moderate for moderate offerings. Prices quoted are on a per head basis delivered to the buyer’s farm and include freight and fees. 10 to 12 pound pigs 69.00 to 88.00. 40 pound pigs 99.00 to 107.00.

The weekly hog kill at 2,113,000 head was 58,000 less than last week, and 26,000 less than last year.

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