U.S. lean-hog futures finished modestly lower, as traders worked to narrow the hefty premium already built into deferred futures prices. May hog futures declined 0.05 cent, or 0.1%, to 89.30 cents a pound at the CME. Most-active June hog futures fell 0.37 cent, or 0.4%, to 92.15 cents a pound. Other contracts were mixed.
U.S. cattle futures settled lower Monday, pressured by a rally in corn futures, as traders forecast cheaper cattle prices in the face of rising costs for the most widely used feed grain. April live-cattle futures shed 0.15 cent, or 0.1%, to $1.2770 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. That contract, which notched a three-and-a-half-week high on a front-month basis on Friday, expires Tuesday. Most-active June futures slipped 0.05 cent, or 0.04%, to $1.2255 a pound. Feeder-cattle futures were pulled sharply lower by the gains in corn, as feedlot operators anticipated thin or negative margins for fattening up young cattle as grain prices surged. May feeder-cattle futures declined 1.37 cents, or 1%, to $1.4042 a pound. Most-active August feeder-cattle futures shed 1.3 cents, or 0.9%, to $1.4987 a pound.
Wheat futures on Monday were pulled higher by corn, as both grains are used in animal feed. Wheat also rose on worries about recent freeze damage to crops in the Plains. CBOT May wheat rose 21 cents or 3.0% to $7.09 3/4 a bushel. KCBT May wheat rose 24 1/4 cents or 3.2% to $7.80 3/4 a bushel. MGEX May wheat rose 20 1/2 cents or 2.5% to $8.31 3/4 a bushel.
Corn futures jumped more than 6% on Monday, their biggest percentage gain in nearly 10 months, amid fears that cold, wet weather in the Midwest will delay farmers planting a new crop. May corn futures settled up 40 cents or 6.2% at $6.84 a bushel, the biggest percentage jump since July for the front-month contract.
Soybean futures rose on the gains in corn and on continued worries about tight current supplies of the oilseed. May soybeans rose 41 cents or 2.9% to $14.71 3/4 a bushel, a six-week high for the front-month contract.
Cotton futures also rose on renewed buying interest. cotton for July delivery on ICE rose 1.8% to settle at 85.74 cents a pound.
Crude-oil futures rose 1.6% Monday, helped by gains in stock markets and a falling dollar as traders looked to other markets for signals on the broader economy, and energy demand. Light, sweet crude-oil futures for June delivery settled $1.50 higher at $94.50 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest settlement since April 10. Front-month May reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, settled 0.74 cent lower at $2.8275 a gallon. May heating oil settled 0.05 cent lower at $2.9007 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures finished at their highest level in a week Monday, as traders remained focused on forecasts for below-normal temperatures that are expected to keep gas demand elevated. Natural gas for June delivery settled 16.9 cents, or 4%, higher at $4.392 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Gold futures ended higher Monday as the dollar eased against the euro and investors took a more optimistic outlook on the upcoming Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting. The most actively traded contract, for June delivery, rose $13.80, or 1%, to settle at $1,467.40 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The Dow jumped 106 points to close Monday at 14818. All three major indices were in the green as NASDAQ rose 27 to 3307, and Standard & Poors finished at 1593, up 11.