Cattle Futures Moderate, Hogs Gain

Cattle futures retreated from 6-month highs on Wednesday, as investors booked profits on the early-week price rally.

February Live Cattle dropped 40 to $119 after closing limit up on Tuesday, and hitting the highest settlement since June. April live cattle declined 77 to $117, and Feeder cattle for January fell 65 to $132, after that market had also surged higher in the previous session.

Hog futures ended the session narrowly higher. February lean-hog futures picked up 55 to 65.60, and the April contract gained 17 to 69.50.

Wheat futures sank Wednesday amid forecasts for better weather in the U.S. Plains, where much of the nation’s crop is grown.

Corn and soybeans also declined.

Wheat futures slid nearly 2% as traders eyed forecasts for rainfall to douse the U.S. wheat belt over the weekend, reducing dryness there and potentially benefiting winter crops which are in their dormant phase. Corn and soybeans eased amid expectations that the USDA on Thursday will report stockpiles at the beginning of last month hit all-time records, following the biggest-ever hauls of the crops brought in by U.S. farmers last summer.

March Chicago Wheat dropped 8 to $4.18, March KC wheat fell 6 ½ to $3.31, January soybeans fell 2 1/2 to $10.03, and March corn slid 1 to $3.57.

Cotton futures were virtually unchanged Wednesday with the March contract falling 5 to 73.14, and May gaining 2 to 73.66.

Oil futures climbed Wednesday after data showed that refiners processed a record amount of crude and that supplies drained from the main storage hub in Cushing, Okla.

The market shrugged off data showing that stockpiles of crude oil and gasoline swelled last week and U.S. oil production rose, and focused on indications that Russia and Saudi Arabia are complying with promised production cuts.
February crude rose $1.43 to $52.25 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 4.62 cents to $1.59 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose 4.1 cents to $1.65 a gallon.

Natural gas futures reversed course to edge lower Wednesday as exceptionally warm weather continued to weigh on the market. Natural gas for February delivery fell 5.4 cents to $3.22.

On Wall Street stocks ended higher after a choppy day on Wednesday as energy and technology gains countered a drop in healthcare stocks after President-elect Donald Trump said pharmaceutical companies were “getting away with murder” by charging high prices.  The Dow gained 98 to 19,954, the Nasdaq closed at 5,563, up 11 and the S&P 500 gained 6 to 2,275.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.