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FUTURES FILES

Wheat the Winner in Grain Markets

Wheat markets were boosted by Thursday’s USDA Grain Stocks report, which contained bullish figures regarding the stockpile of wheat, especially compared to corn, soybeans, and oats. Kansas City hard red winter wheat (used primarily to make bread) gained the most, up nearly 34 cents per bushel. Chicago soft red winter wheat is used for cookies, cakes, and pastries. By closing time Friday, December Chicago wheat was up 30 cents per bushel compared to last week, while December corn traded at $5.40 this week, and November beans were $12.50. Beans were actually down 33 cents compared to last Friday.

Pigs Fly While Cotton Soars

In other agricultural markets, cotton reigned king, reaching $105.37 per 100 pounds. Heavenly hogs gained another 5 cents per pound, with October hogs trading at 92.05 cents per pound. Both were up on China’s aggressive buying, though Mexico’s buying also helped hogs, and Turkey and Indonesia’s purchases helped cotton. Concerns about weather played a role in the cotton explosion as well; predicted rain in Texas and Oklahoma could hurt cotton’s quality if the rain predicted comes just ahead of harvest.

Farmers Watch Washington

Commodity producers and those who make our foods always keep a close eye on the weather, exports, pests, and transportation issues. Lately, they’ve added new strength in the dollar and the current debates in the House and Senate to their watch list. The president signed a bill extending Federal Funding late on Thursday, which barely averted a shutdown. Many farm service offices would have closed had that not occurred, delaying pandemic payments and other money. As of midday Friday, Congress had not reached an agreement on the infrastructure bill.

Stock Index Futures Take a Bath

The financial world continues to worry about ongoing debates in Washington over the debt limit, concerns central banks may be pulling back stimulus, and that the pace of global economic activity may not be as strong as anticipated. The NASDAQ was the weakest of the three most heavily traded stock indexes, while S&P was the strongest. Friday afternoon, the December NASDAQ traded at 14,682, whereas the S&P was at 432100.

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