U.S. lean-hog futures finished narrowly higher Tuesday, supported in deferred contracts by the USDA's lowered forecast for pork supplies, as indicated in Tuesday morning's world supplies report. Nearby contracts are being pressured by lackluster cash trading, according to analysts. December lean hogs settled down 5 to 82.10, The February contract added 22 to 84.15.
U.S. live-cattle futures closed higher Tuesday, supported by an increase in wholesale beef prices. December live cattle added 95 to $126, February live cattle, the most actively traded contract, gained 167 to $132.
At the 3 livestock auctions held Monday at Canton, Turnersburg and Siler City a total of 1920 cattle and 51 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mixed, feeder steers trended mixed, and heifers trended steady to $0.50 higher when compared to last week’s sales.
U.S. wheat futures dropped to fresh five-month lows Tuesday after U.S. forecasters projected greater domestic supplies of the grain than analysts had expected. USDA estimated in a monthly crop report that U.S. wheat stockpiles at the end of the crop year next May will be 754 million bushels, well above analysts' forecasts. The government also projected tighter-than-expected domestic supplies of soybeans, and it left unchanged its projection for U.S. stockpiles of corn next year.
March wheat in Chicago fell 27 1/4 to $8.21, March wheat in KC fell 21 3/4 to $8.81, January soybean futures fell 2 3/4 to $14.72, and March corn fell 2 to $7.28.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 2 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.18-$7.98 at feed mills and $7.22-$7.58 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended mixed and were $14.52 at processors, and $13.92-$14.37 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $503.10 per ton for 48% protein.
Federal forecasts for a slightly tighter cotton supply/demand situation pushed futures to seven-week highs. March cotton gained 2 to 74.90, the May contract gained 144 to 75.79.
Gold futures pulled back amid quiet trade Tuesday, while silver snapped a four-day winning streak, as some investors moved to the sidelines ahead of an upcoming policy decision from the Federal Reserve while others worried about the slow progress in U.S. budget-deficit talks. February gold fell $4.80 to $1,709.60, and March silver closed at $33.01, down 36 cents
Crude oil futures snapped a five-day streak of declines and rose modestly Tuesday on strong German investor sentiment data one day before a meeting of OPEC.
Crude futures spent most of the day in positive territory, settling at $85.79 a barrel, up 23 cents, Front-month gasoline closed at $2.61 per gallon, up 1.3 cents, and distillate futures closed at $2.92 a gallon, up 3.1 cents.
Natural-gas futures slipped lower Tuesday, dropping for a fourth-straight session as investors grow concerned that mild weather will result in rising U.S. gas stockpiles. January Natural gas fell 4.8 cents to $3.41.
On Wall Street, shares on major markets rose to near a two-month high and the euro gained versus the US dollar after German investor sentiment improved sharply in December and on cautious optimism the US will avoid a fiscal crisis. The Dow gained 78 to 13,248, the Nasdaq closed at 3,022, up 35 and the S&P 500 gained 9 to 1,427.