Hog Futures Advance to Highest Close in a Month

Hog futures rose to the highest close in a month on Wednesday, as traders shrugged off concerns about oversupply.

Meatpackers are slaughtering record numbers of hogs, while producers have also increased herd sizes to an all-time high for this time of year. But traders are betting that strong demand for pork, both domestically and in the export market, will help absorb that extra meat supply and prevent a glut.

October lean hog futures rose 107 to 61.25, December gained 95 to 62.50.

Cattle futures were mixed Wednesday. The market rallied Tuesday in part on rumors of cash trade that proved to be unfounded, analysts said, prompting a slowdown on Wednesday. October live cattle futures rose 7 to $113, December fell 27 to $118, and October feeders gained 7 to $155.

Grain and soybean futures fell Wednesday ahead of a government supply-and-demand report.

USDA is due to update its corn and soybean harvest estimates today at noon.  The USDA said on Tuesday afternoon that the ongoing harvest is progressing more slowly than expected, but the share of both corn and soybean crops rated good or excellent rose from a week earlier. That gave traders further reason to believe crop yields would be high, analysts said. Soybean futures were mixed, finding some support on concerns about weather conditions in Brazil, where dryness has delayed crop planting, and export demand.

December corn fell 3 ¼  to $3.46, December Chicago wheat futures fell 2 to $4.33, December KC wheat fell 3 to $4.28, and November soybeans closed ¾  lower at $9.65.

Near month cotton futures closed lower with the December contract dropping 22 to 68.73, and March falling 8 to 68.30.  Out months were higher.

Oil futures rose for a third straight day as forecasts of higher demand and tensions in the Middle East outweighed rising OPEC output.

November crude gained 38 cents to $51.30 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 1.77 cents to $1.60 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose 2.12 cents to $1.78 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures gave up gains Wednesday, settling lower as a recent rally ran up against near-term forecasts of warm weather.

November nat gas fell a fraction to $2.88.

On Wall Street, major stock indexes edged up to post record closing highs on Wednesday with sector moves in the S&P 500 showing preference toward so-called defensive stocks.  The Dow gained 42 to 22,872, the Nasdaq closed at 6,603, up 16 and the S&P 500 gained 4 to 2,555.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.