Floor-traded Chicago Mercantile Exchange hogs closed above board Tuesday on initial fund buying. But, futures eased from morning tops after some in the pit pocketed profits on the final trading day for the month of August. Live and feeder cattle contracts at the exchange ended the month of August on a sour note. October ended at 75.15 cents a pound, up 0.27 cent. Nearby December closed up 0.52 cent at 73.27 cents. CME pork belly futures were unquoted leading into the exchange's weekly belly storage report.
Anxiety about how this week's cash cattle prices would play out and spreading pulled down CME live cattle futures at the close of business Tuesday. Short covering, along with August and October cattle price discounts to last week's cash sales, actually bumped up both months at first. While spot August cattle held its own prior to its 1 p.m. expiration, October eventually succumbed to spreading out of that month into December. August settled unchanged at 97.25 cents a pound. October, the new lead month, ended down 0.77 cent at 97.27 cents. CME feeder cattle closed well into bearish territory on steady-to-lower cash feeder cattle quotes and weakness in the adjacent live cattle pit. September feeders closed 1.00 cent lower at 114.10 cents.
Wheat prices ended a three-session winning streak Tuesday as traders booked profits and pre-placed sell orders accelerated a dramatic selloff. Month-end profit-taking dragged down prices in late dealings, with commodity funds selling a modest 5,000 contracts. September wheat closed down 18 3/4 cents at $6.52 1/2 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. KCBT December wheat closed down 21 1/2 cents, or 3%, at $7.02 1/2 a bushel. MGE December wheat closed down 16 cents, or 2.2%, at $7.03 ½.
Soybean futures ended lower across the board Tuesday, backpedaling from earlier gains on broad-based commodity weakness and stable crop ratings. Chicago Board of Trade September soybeans ended 10 cents, or 1%, lower at $10.08.
Soy product futures stumbled down the stretch, with soyoil extending its losses on the close. Borrowed weakness from crude-oil futures and abundant domestic supplies weighed on prices. Soymeal futures backpedaled after holding firm for most of the day. December soyoil settled 0.48 cents lower at 40.05 cents per pound. December soymeal ended $3.50 lower at $295.20 per short ton.
Cotton futures fell Tuesday, after hitting nearly a two-year peak of 87.71 cents intraday, as one or more funds took profits. Dec cotton lost 0.23 cent to 86.20 cents a pound.
Gold futures crept closer to record highs Tuesday, rising on continued insecurity about the economic recovery as global equity markets struggle.
Crude-oil futures tumbled Tuesday, settling below $72 a barrel as investors turned their attention toward increasingly high U.S. oil supplies and the slowing economy. Crude oil for October delivery settled $2.78 lower at $71.92 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. September gasoline settled 4.47 cents lower at $1.8894 a gallon. September heating oil settled 3.08 cents lower at $1.9944 a gallon. Both contracts expired at settlement.
Natural gas futures moved lower Tuesday as market participants see a lack of immediate storm threats to production from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and milder seasonal weather ahead. Natural gas for October delivery fell 8 cents to $3.732 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The most actively traded contract, for December delivery, settled up $11.10 at $1,250.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement price since June 28. December silver settled up 35.8 cents at $19.432 an ounce.
Wall Street closed relatively flat. The Dow gained 5 to close at 10014. NASDAQ lost 5 points to 2114, and the S&P closed almost even at 1049.