Cattle futures undid early losses to close largely unchanged, supported by technical factors and steady beef prices.
Wholesale beef has inched higher this week, pausing several weeks of losses. That has traders betting the broader cattle-and-beef market could stabilize in the weeks to come.
Futures initially fell before bouncing off the bottom of a recent trading range. Live cattle futures have largely traded within that band through late August. October live cattle pared early losses to close little changed at $106, December gained 17 to $109, and September feeders gained 72 to $143.
Hog futures also bounced. Though pork belly prices continue to fall, losses eased as of midday Wednesday after falling sharply earlier this week. Analysts say hog prices are due for a seasonal low.
October lean hogs rose 112 to 61.35, and December gained 105 to 57.20.
Corn futures fell to the lowest point in almost a year as traders liquidated their positions ahead of the end of the month. The corn market, however, has been under pressure for several weeks, after a series of government and private forecasts have cast doubt on bets that this year’s corn harvest would suffer after bad weather earlier this growing season. Soybean futures also fell, despite export demand for U.S. oilseed.
September Corn fell 4 to $3.29, September soybeans slipped 7 ¾ to $9.23, September Chicago wheat, meanwhile, rose ¾ to $4.03 and September KC wheat gained 3 to $4.
Cotton futures continue to gain as rains in south Texas cotton country continues. October cotton gained 91 to 71.47, the December contract gained 87 to 70.85.
Gasoline and oil prices continued to diverge on Wednesday, as Tropical Storm Harvey dumped more rain along the Gulf Coast and forced the full shutdown of the nation’s largest refinery.
After making landfall in Texas this weekend, Harvey moved east and came ashore again in Louisiana, threatening to disrupt more of the area’s refining capacity and compounding fears of fuel shortages. Gasoline prices surged to a two-year high on Wednesday, as traders anticipated a shortage of supply following the storm. October crude fell for the third day in a row, closing down 48 cents at $45.96 a barrel, a one-month low, September gasoline rose 11 cents to $1.90, Diesel futures for September delivery increased 1 cent to $1.67 a gallon. October natural gas fell 4 cents to $2.94.
On Wall Street, stocks rose on Wednesday after stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth outweighed concerns about escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea and uncertainty in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The Dow gained 27 to 21,892, the Nasdaq closed at 6,368, up 66, and the S&P 500 gained 11 to 2,457.