Livestock futures surged again Tuesday as meatpackers scrambled for supplies to satisfy strong consumer demand and fill recently-expanded slaughtering capacity.
Hog futures gained more than 4% and cattle rose almost 2% to new contract highs as meatpackers accepted lower margins to secure supplies, a move that analysts said dented their financial prospects in what is traditionally the most profitable quarter of the year.
The shortage of cattle following a big slaughter two weeks ago spilled into haggling between ranchers and packers before the latter blinked, setting off a chain that on Tuesday spread into the hog complex.
December lean hog futures gained 282 to 68, February contract settled up 195 at 72.87.
Live cattle futures, which had closed at a four-month high on Monday, briefly retreated before resuming their upward push, though analysts said speculators had left the market overbought.
December live cattle futures closed up 92 at $125, December gained 222 to $125, and November feeders gained 110 to $159.
Grain futures fell Tuesday as big U.S. yields and stiff export competition depressed corn and wheat markets. Soybeans were mixed. Wheat declined for the fifth straight day, hitting the lowest level in nearly two months. Contracts for the grain succumbed to pressure from technical selling and robust exports from Russia, a key competitor for U.S. wheat shipments. In turn, lower wheat prices acted as a drag on the corn market, which fell for the fourth in five sessions. Corn prices were further weighed down by ongoing reports of better-than-expected yields from the U.S. harvest, as well as anticipation that a monthly USDA report due out next week will forecast higher yield estimates for the grain. Nearby soybean prices ticked higher, while later-dated contracts were flat.
December Chicago Wheat dropped 6 1/4 cents to $4.18, December KC wheat fell 5 ¼ to $4.16, December corn fell 3 to $3.45, November soybeans gained 1 to $9.73.
Cotton futures waffled between gains and losses finally ending the month in the red with the December contract dropping 26 to 68.38, and March falling 24 to 68.34.
Oil futures continued to hit new multimonth highs Tuesday as a lower-than-expected U.S. production figure helped breathe new life into a recent rally.
November crude futures rose for a fourth straight day, gaining 23 cents to $54.38 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 1.55 cents to $1.77 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose a fraction to $1.88 a gallon.
Natural-gas prices turned lower on Tuesday as mild weather forecasts continued to cap the fuel’s gains. December nat gas fell 7 cents to $2.89
A jump in shares of consumer companies Mondelez and Kellogg after their quarterly reports on Tuesday, along with further gains for tech stocks, helped Wall Street end October on a positive note. The Dow gained 28 to 23,377, the Nasdaq closed at 6,727, up 28 and the S&P 500 gained 2 to 2,575.