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Morning markets: beans pause for breath

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Soybeans sat back and admired the view on Friday, within arm's length of their six-month high, allowing wheat to take the lead on what has opened a quieter day.

With many Asian markets closed for May Day holidays, Chicago contracts had less in the way of stimulus for other financial markets. They had already had plenty of time to react to palm oil's seven month closing high in Malaysia on Thursday, as well as, for that matter the Chrysler bankruptcy.

The carmaker's implosion continued to have some impact on oil markets, with New York light crude off $0.14 at $50.98 a barrel and Brent $0.16 down at $50.64 a barrel at 06:30 GMT.

Still, Japanese shares closed 1.7% higher at their highest finish in four months, taking their cue from European brethren, which made strong gains on Thursday, rather than US stocks, which ended a touch weaker.

Mixed weather

Wheat investors at least had the incentive of mixed weather forecasts for the US Plains region, where farmers attempting to plant spring wheat have been struggling with axle-high mud and washed away roads.

Chicago May wheat was 2.75 cents higher at $5.27 a bushel, with July wheat up 7.5 cents at $5.44 a bushel and September wheat adding 6.5 cents to $5.69 ¾ a bushel.

Corn was mixed, with the bullish prospect of on-off rains for Midwest planting clashing with the bearish backdrop of ethanol curbs in California, which many fear may follow the showers west.

May corn was down 0.25 cents at $3.96 ¼ a bushel, with July and September both up by 0.25 cents, to at $4.03 ¾ a bushel and $4.12 ¾ a bushel respectively.

However, the prospect of hampered corn plantings is being considered bearish for wheat. As soybeans can be planted later than corn, farmers giving up on cobs may go for beans.

Soybeans for this month's delivery lost 3 cents from their six month high to $10.67 ¾, with July off 1.5 cents at $10.53 ½ a bushel and August off 2.75 cents at $10.20 ¾ a bushel.

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