Lean-hog futures posted another daily decline Monday as investors continued to react to weakening fundamentals and an increasing sense that pork demand is easing. December hog contracts closed down 95 at 85.30, February hogs finished off 110 to 88.25.
U.S. live cattle futures fell sharply Monday on increasing expectations for cattle prices to decline ahead of the new year. December cattle closed down by the three-cent, one-day limit, to finish at $118.90, January feeder cattle closed down 277 to $144.
US wheat futures ended lower, sinking on poor demand and pressure from Europe. December wheat in Chicago ended down 13 1/2 at $5.98 while December wheat in KC fell 9 1/2 to $6.66.
US corn futures ended lower, retreating from early gains as sentiment on Europe's fiscal health shifts. Dec. corn ends down 6 1/4 to $5.80
US soybean futures ended lower, retreating from early gains on poor export demand and outside pressure. Jan soybeans fell 9 1/2 to $11.26, Dec soy meal ends down $5.30 to $281.10 while Dec soy oil held steady amid flat crude oil prices, ending up 2 to 50.07.
Cotton traded mildly higher on Monday, on the news that China’s 2012 cotton acres may be fewer due to low profitability. December cotton gained 16 to close at $91.51, and the March contract gained 38 to close at $92.22.
Gold retreated 1% Monday as a plan for euro-zone budget reforms proposed by Germany and France struggled to soothe investor worries about Europe's widespread sovereign debt problems. February gold fell $16.80 to $1,734.50 an ounce, Silver futures followed gold lower, with March silver falling 31.4 cents to $32.372 an ounce.
Oil futures finished nearly unchanged Monday as news of a possible downgrade of several euro-zone nations chilled a rally that earlier had sent prices surging to a two-week high. January crude gained 3 cents to $100.99 a barrel, January gasoline fell a fraction to $2.61 a gallon, and January distillates gained a fraction to $2.99 a gallon.
Natural gas futures fell sharply Monday, touching a new low for the January contract as abundant supply coupled with warmer temperatures forecast for much of the country in the coming days sent the market down more than 3%. January Natural gas ended the day down 12.3 cents to $3.46.
The markets ended solidly to the upside, although well off of session highs, amid reports that S&P warned several euro zone countries that they might get downgraded. The Dow gained 78 to close at 12,097, the Nasdaq closed at 2,655, up 28 and the S&) 500 gained 12 to close at 1,257.