U.S. lean-hog futures traded higher Tuesday, supported by continued strength in wholesale pork prices and expectations for tighter hog supplies in the weeks ahead. Thinly traded May hog futures, which expired Tuesday, added 0.07 cent, or 0.1%, to 92 cents a pound. Most-active June futures rose 0.55 cent, or 0.6%, to 91.47 cents a pound. Other contracts were mostly higher.
U.S. live-cattle futures also traded mixed Tuesday, supported in the spot contract by the futures' heavy discount to cash prices for cattle. June live-cattle futures, the front-month contract, rose 0.075 cent, or 0.1%, to $1.2065 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. August live-cattle prices were recently down 0.2 cent, or 0.2%, to $1.20675 a pound. Other contracts were mixed. Feeder-cattle futures, too, are trading mixed. Most-active August feeder-cattle futures recently slipped 0.07 cent, or 0.05%, to $1.4612 a pound.
Wheat futures settled mixed, as traders weigh poor conditions for the U.S. crop against expectations for ample world supplies. July wheat futures ended up one cent, or 0.1%, at $7.10 3/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. Kansas City Board of Trade July wheat rose 1/2 cent, or 0.07%, to $7.67 a bushel. Minneapolis Grain Exchange July wheat finished down 1 1/4 cents, or 0.2%, at $8.11 1/4 a bushel.
CBOT soybeans for July delivery, the most actively traded contract, finished down 4 1/2 cents, or 0.3%, at $14.14 3/4. The November soybean contract settled up 4 1/4 cents, or 0.4%, to $12.14.
Cotton futures fell Tuesday as industrial output in China last month missed market expectations, raising concerns over demand for the fiber from the world's largest consumer. Cotton for delivery in July on ICE Futures U.S. was down 0.5% at 85.61 cents a pound. A settlement at the current level would be the lowest since May 1. Industrial output in China, which is the world's biggest cotton importer, rose 9.3% last month from April 2012. While output was higher compared with March, the figure came in below market expectations.
U.S. crude oil futures fell for a fourth straight Tuesday, shedding 1% to settle at a two-week low of $94.21 a barrel on worries over high inventory and sluggish demand. Prices also were hit by strength in the dollar and signs of rising output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. U.S. benchmark crude oil futures have shed 2.5% over the past four days, pressured by crude oil stocks that stand at their highest level since April 1981. The price skid, which trimmed $2.41 a barrel from front-month crude, is the longest since early January.
"We are swimming in crude and demand just isn't going anywhere," said Addison Armstrong, senior director of market research at Tradition Energy."
Light, sweet crude oil for June delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled 96 cents lower, at $94.21 a barrel. The drop was the biggest since May 1 and put prices at the lowest level since May 2. Reformulated gasoline blendstock futures for June settled 1.66 cents higher, at $2.8376 a gallon, reflecting the expectation of declining stocks as Memorial Day, celebrated on May 27 this year, approaches. Oil marketers push fuel through the supply chain to stock filling stations ahead of the three-day holiday weekend which kicks off the summer driving season. Nymex June heating oil, which trades as a proxy for diesel fuel, settled 1.80 cents lower, at $2.8730 a gallon. The price was the lowest since May 2.
Natural gas futures rose above $4 for the first time in more than a week Tuesday as traders focus on a pick-up in demand. Natural gas for June delivery settled 10 cents, or 2.5%, higher at $4.025 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's the highest settlement since May 3 and the first time the contract settled above the key $4 psychological threshold since May 6.
Gold prices were near unchanged. "With equities being as high as they are right now, a lot of investors are watching the equities market and taking their eye off gold," said Bob Haberkorn, a senior commodities broker with RJO Futures. Gold for June delivery, the most active contract, was unchanged at $1,434.30 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the Nymex.
Stocks rose and extended a recent rally on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 and Dow hitting a new intraday high as investors bet that the market's upward momentum would continue. The Dow gained 133 to close Tuesday at 15215. NASDAQ rose 23 points to 3462. The Standard & Poor's 500-stocks index traded at 1650, up 16.
At the 3 livestock auctions held Monday at Canton, Turnersburg and Siler City a total of 1757 cattle and 18 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady to $4.50 higher, feeder steers trended mostly $1.50 to $5.00 lower, and heifers trended mostly $1.00 to $14.00 higher when compared to last week’s sales. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $72.00 to $86.00. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $93.00 to $100.00 with high dressing up to $113.50. M&L 1-2 feeder steers, 400-500 lbs. brought $125.00 to $147.50, 500-600 lbs. brought $122.00 to $150.00. 400-500 lb. M&L 1-2 feeder heifers ranged $120.00 – $148.00 and 500-600 lbs. were $110.00 – $134.00.
N.C. BROILER-FRYERS: The market is steady and the live supply is adequate to meet the moderate demand. Average weights are heavy. The estimated slaughter for Tuesday in North Carolina is 2,867,000 head compared to 2,889,000 head last Tuesday.
N.C. EGGS: The market is higher on all sizes. Supplies are moderate for small and medium, light on the balance. Retail demand is good. Weighted average prices for small lot sales of grade A eggs delivered to nearby retail outlets: Extra Large 137.50, Large 136.72, Medium 115.08, and Small 83.00.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 3 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.03-$7.56 at feed mills and $6.73-$7.27 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended mixed and were $14.94 at processors, and $14.00-$15.24 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat trended 1 cent higher and was $5.61 at the elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $481.80 per ton for 48% protein.