Cattle futures turned lower on Tuesday, erasing an early-week rally as traders refocused on large supplies.
A USDA report on Friday showed a slowdown in the rate of cattle placed in feedlots for fattening in July, suggesting that current large supplies of slaughter-ready cattle will ease later this year. After starting the week higher, futures fell on Tuesday as traders bet that prices across the cattle-and-beef market would continue in a slump while the industry works through existing supplies.
October live cattle futures fell 227 to $106, the December contract fell 220 to $109, and September feeders fell 285 to $143.
Hog futures also fell sharply as pork belly prices tumbled. Futures traders are concerned that falling bellies could spark a chain reaction through the hog market.
October lean hog futures slid 140 to 60.22, December dropped 142 to 56.15.
Corn and soybean futures slid as government data showed better-than-average crop ratings.
USDA said the share of the corn crop in good-or-excellent condition as of Sunday was steady from a week earlier at 62%, while good-or-excellent soybeans rose to 61% from 60% a week earlier. Analysts said those ratings were above average for this time of year. Wheat futures were mixed.
September corn futures fell 2 ½ to $3.33, September soybeans slid 4 ½ to $9.30, September Chicago wheat closed 2 ¾ higher at $4.02, and September KC wheat gained ½ to $3.97.
Cotton futures continued to rise in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey and the as yet to be determined destruction to the crop in the Texas Coastal Bend. October cotton gained 23 to 70.56, and December new crop gained 15 to 69.98.
Oil prices finished Tuesday with a modest decline, pressured by expectations that refinery shutdowns due to storm system Harvey will prompt a rise in U.S. crude supplies. October crude fell 11 cents to $46.46 a barrel, September gasoline gained 8 cents to $179 a gallon, and September diesel gained 4 cents to $1.67 a gallon. September natural gas gained 7 cents to $3.
On Wall Street, stocks rebounded from a sharply lower open on Tuesday and helped an index of global equity markets pare losses as investors shrugged off concerns over North Korea’s latest missile test. The Dow gained 56 to 21,865, the Nasdaq closed at 6,301 up 18 and the S&P 500 gained 2 to 2,446.