U.S. lean-hog futures traded mostly lower Thursday, weighed down by sharp declines in wholesale pork prices this week. December hogs fell 2 to 80.07, February hogs gained slightly, adding 1 to 86.15.
U.S. live-cattle futures finished higher Thursday, supported by expectations that lower cattle supplies will be seen in Friday's cattle-on-feed report from U.S. forecasters. December live-cattle improved 17 to $125, the February contract added 25 to $129.
At the livestock auctions held Wednesday at North Wilkesboro and Norwood a total of 843 cattle and 21 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mixed, feeder steers trended mixed, and heifers trended mixed when compared to last week’s sales.
U.S. soybean futures fell to a fresh five-month closing low Thursday, pressured by the potential for large soy crops in South America. Corn futures fell on lower soybean prices and on worries about weak export demand for U.S. corn. Lower corn and soybean prices pulled wheat lower as well, as traders also wait for wheat exports to pick up.
January soybeans fell 17 to $14.02, December corn lost 4 ½ to $7.21, December wheat in Chicago dropped 3 1/4 to $8.45, December wheat in KC gained ¼ to $8.90.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 4 to 5 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.11-$7.96 at feed mills and $7.06-7.51 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 30 cents lower and were $13.87 at processors, and $13.37-$13.72 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $485.50 per ton for 48% protein.
The NC egg market is lower on medium; steady on small, higher on the balance. Supplies are moderate on large sizes, adequate on medium and small. Retail demand is good. Weighted average prices for small lot sales of Grade A eggs delivered to nearby retail outlets: Extra Large 149.45, Large 151.00, Medium 123.64 and Small 102.00.
Cotton futures jumped on signs of increased physical demand after a price-slid below 70c/lb late last week. Prices had climbed as high as 74.63c/lb in intraday trade. US export sales are expected to be robust in the USDA's next report, scheduled for release today. December new crop cotton gained 23 to 73.95, and March gained 9 to 72.24.
Gold prices dropped Thursday on signs that demand for the precious metal is sagging. November gold lost $16.20 to $1,713.30, and November silver fell 20 cents to 32.65.
Crude oil futures fell on Thursday on concerns over a growing inventory surplus, which hit a three-year high last week. On the East Coast, where Sandy hit in late October, gasoline stocks were at their lowest level in more than four years last week, spurring gains in gasoline amid weakness elsewhere. December crude fell 87 cents to $85.45 a barrel, December gasoline futures rose 1.72 cents a gallon to $2.69 a gallon and December distillates fell 1.47 cents to $2.97 a gallon.
Natural gas futures dropped Thursday after government data showed a withdrawal in U.S. gas stockpiles that was smaller than some traders were anticipating. December Natural gas fell 5.7 cents to $3.70.
On Wall Street stocks were little changed as the prospects of a drawn-out battle over impending tax and spending changes made investors wary of getting into the water, while retailer Wal-Mart tumbled after disappointing sales. The Dow fell 28 to 12,542, the Nasdaq closed at 2,836, down 9 and the S&P 500 fell 2 to 1,353.