U.S. lean hog futures on Wednesday fell to their lowest point in 16 months, part of broad losses in livestock futures tied to weak meat demand, selling in outside markets and new regulatory requirements.
May hog fell for the fifth straight day at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange closing down 172 to 81.27, and the June contract fell 140 to 84.45.
Live cattle futures fell to a nine-month low as new margin requirements and outside markets added to concerns about the strength of beef demand.
June Live Cattle fell 65 to $112, May feeders dropped 20 to $149.
U.S. wheat futures tumbled Wednesday on outlooks for potentially record winter wheat crops. KCBT hard red winter wheat futures fell over 4%, sliding to their lowest levels since July 2010 as reports from crop scouts touring fields across Kansas point to strong production potential.
July wheat in KC fell 26 1/2 to $6.30, July wheat in Chicago ended down 28 1/2 to $6.14. Corn and soybeans stumbled with wheat. Corn drew added weakness from favorable weather spurring a rapid planting pace while soybeans were influenced by outlooks for increased soybean acreage. Analysts expect farmers to plant more double-crop soy acres amid early winter wheat harvests in the Midwest. July corn ended down 17 1/2 at $6.11, July soybeans finished down18 1/2 at $14.85.
ICE cotton futures bobbed and weaved along the flatline Wednesday ahead of US export-sales figures, which will likely indicate the market's next move--especially after recent sales cancellations revived some concerns about demand. May cotton fell 5 to close at $87.46, and the July contract lost 17 to close at 89.51.
Gold futures ended lower for the third straight trading session Wednesday, pressured by a stronger dollar and waning expectations of further monetary stimulus. June gold fell $8.40 to $1,654.00, and Jul silver closed at $30.64 ,down 28.5 cents.
Crude-oil futures dropped Wednesday as U.S. crude-oil inventories rose to their highest levels since September 1990. June crude fell 94 cents to $105.22, June gasoline fell 2.14 cents to $3.07 a gallon, the lowest level since Feb. 21, and June distillates fell 3.46 cents to $3.14 a gallon.
Natural gas futures also fell Wednesday, pulling back after three straight days of sharply higher prices. June Natural gas plunged 11.8 cents to $2.25.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and the Dow edged lower as data shoed private sector hiring was weaker than expected in April, sparking concerns that Friday’s closely watched payrolls report may indicate the recovery is failing to maintain momentum. The Dow lost 10 to close at 13,268, the Nasdaq closed at 3,059, up 9, and the S&P 500 fell 3 to close at 1,402.