U.S. lean-hog futures extended gains into the close Wednesday, settling at a three-month high as demand for market-ready animals and pork products picks up across the country.
May hogs advanced 1.575 cents to 75.325 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the highest closing price for a front-month contract since Jan. 15. Most-active June hogs picked up 1.3 cents to 81.20 cents a pound, the highest for that contract in 1½-months.
Cattle futures, meanwhile, closed the trading session mixed.
June live-cattle futures slipped 0.225 cent, or 0.2%, to $1.5090 a pound. Feeder-cattle futures for May gained 0.7 cent to $2.1305 a pound.
U.S. grain and soybean futures advanced Wednesday on short covering by investors and a weaker U.S. dollar. Soybean prices rose to a one-month high, bolstered by stout demand and speculation that the nation’s soybean acreage this year could be smaller than expected. Analysts said evidence of continued soybean demand from global importers — as well as strong pursuit of supplies by U.S. processors — this week had spurred some investors to unwind bearish bets, pushing prices for the oilseeds higher.
May-dated soybean futures climbed 11 cents, or 1.1%, to $9.88 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the highest settlement prices since April 1.
Wheat prices rebounded after sliding to a nearly five-year low earlier in the week, buoyed by investor short covering and the lower dollar.
CBOT May wheat added 5 3/4 cents, or 1.2%, to $4.77 1/4 a bushel. Prices for the grain declined to the lowest level since June 2010 earlier in the week.
Corn prices rose off six-month lows notched earlier this week, lifted in part by strength in nearby markets despite expectations that U.S. growers will make rapid progress planting corn this week. There is still a long growing season to weather after the nation’s corn crop has been planted, analysts said, noting that the earlier downdraft in corn prices may have been overdone.
CBOT May corn gained 2 3/4 cents, or 0.8%, to $3.63 3/4 a bushel.
Cotton futures No. 2 closed 55 cents to $3.70 a bale higher Wednesday.
The average price for strict low middling 1 & 1-16 inch spot cotton advanced 43 cents to 64.92 cents per pound Wednesday for the seven markets,
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 7.91 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,106.85. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 74.61 points, or 0.4 percent, or 18,035.53 points. The Nasdaq declined 31.78 points, or 0.6 percent, to 5,023.64.
In energy trading, U.S. benchmark crude oil rose $1.52 to $58.58 a barrel in New York, its highest closing price of the year. Brent crude, the international benchmark for oil, climbed $1.20 to $65.84.
In other energy futures trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange: wholesale gasoline rose 1.6 cents to close at $2.018 a gallon, heating oil rose 3.2 cents to close at $1.948 a gallon and natural gas rose 6.9 cents to close at $2.606 per 1,000 cubic feet.
Precious and industrial metals futures were little changed. Gold fell $3.90 to settle at $1,210 an ounce, silver rose eight cents to $16.67 an ounce and copper rose two cents to $2.80 an ounce.