CME hogs closed lower on dismal market fundamentals and fund selling, pork bellies settled higher as speculative buyers shoved futures beyond cash belly prices to entice belly storage for use this summer. April hogs ended down 80 at 71.12, May bellies ended up 55 at 96.70.
Live cattle at the Merc finished steady to higher after traders priced in this week's cash cattle results, feeder cattle finished higher on spot-March positioning ahead of its Thursday expiration. April live cattle ended up 2 at 95.72, March feeders closed up 72 at 106.10.
U.S. wheat futures closed near unchanged Wednesday as the markets stabilized after prices drifted into the low end of their trading range. May wheat in Chicago ended down 3/4 at $4.76, May wheat in KC finished up 1/4 at $4.85 and Minneapolis Grain Exchange May wheat slipped 1 3/4 to $5.03.
CBOT corn ended higher Wednesday, as the market bounced off key technical support. May corn ended up 2 1/4 at $3.65.
CBOT soybean futures settled lower, as strong gains in the U.S. dollar produced broad-based losses in international commodity prices, soy product futures stumbled with soybeans. May soybeans, dropped 8 to $9.60, May soy meal ended $1.00 lower at $270, and May soy oil dropped 46 to 39.08.
ICE cotton futures settled weaker, alongside weaker metals, crude oil and soy, as the stronger dollar sparked speculative sales. May cotton fell 148 to 81.41.
Gold futures closed sharply weaker Wednesday in response to the euro collapsing to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar since last May. March gold fell $14.90 to $1,088.60, May silver fell 38.6 cents to $16.64.
Crude oil prices fell to a seven-session low Wednesday due to a sharp rise in U.S. crude inventories and on a stronger dollar. May crude fell $1.30 to $80.61 a barrel, April gasoline dropped 4.17 cents to $2.22 a gallon and April heating oil fell 3.11 cents to $2.07 a gallon.
Natural gas futures ended lower as mild weather forecasts and expectations for the first increase in U.S. gas inventories of 2010 weighed on prices. April Natural gas fell 2.5 cents to $4.10.
Wall Street suffered modest losses on Wednesday as the markets took a step backward amid a number of negative story lines, including new sovereign debt woes in Europe, a record low in new home sales and a shaky Treasury sale. The Dow lost 52 to close at 10,836, the Nasdaq closed at 2,398, down 16 ½ and the S&P 500 closed down 6 ½ at 1,167.