Livestock Futures Slip in Narrow Trading Range

Livestock futures traded in a narrow range Wednesday as packers clawed back some margin in the cash markets that have underpinned gains in both cattle and hogs in recent sessions. December hogs slipped 140 to 66.60, February fell 85 to 72.15.

Cattle futures see-sawed through the session and lost ground after a single lot of 270 head sold at the weekly online cattle auction for $120 per hundred pounds, with sellers passing on bids for two more lots and no bids for the remaining six. December live cattle gained 97 to $126, February gained 50 to $130, and November feeders gained 27 to $159.

Soybean futures rose Wednesday as crop yields taper off toward the tail end of harvest, and concerns linger over South America’s crop. Corn also gained while wheat was mixed. Farmers harvesting the last of their soybeans are reporting weaker yields than those harvested earlier in the fall. That’s prompting expectations that the government in a monthly supply-and-demand report due out next week will trim its yield estimate for the crop, easing the supply forecast and pressure on soybean prices somewhat.

Better soybean prices prodded the corn market higher, though gains were limited by reports of stellar corn yields and weakness in wheat.

November Soybeans gained 7 1/4 to $9.81, December corn added 2 1/2 to $3.48, December Chicago wheat slipped 1/2 to $4.18, and December KC wheat fell ¾ to $4.15.

Cotton futures, mimicking last week, continued their midweek slide with the December contract falling 21 to 68.17, and March falling 19 to 68.15.

Oil futures closed lower on Wednesday, after storage data showed that crude inventories fell by less than some traders expected last week.

December crude fell 8 cents to $54.30 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 1 cent to $1.74 a gallon and diesel futures fell 2 cents to $1.86 a gallon.

Natural gas prices edged lower Wednesday as warmer-than-average weather forecasts continued to contribute to uncertainty in the market.

December nat gas fell a fraction to $2.89.

Stocks on Wall Street banked modest gains on Wednesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve kept interest rates unchanged and gave encouraging comments about the economy.  The Dow gained 57 to 23,435, the Nasdaq closed at 6,716, down 11 and the S&P 500 gained 4 to 2,579.

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.