U.S. lean-hog futures finished mostly lower Wednesday, as traders worked to get in line with expectations for the USDA cold storage report that came out after the market closed. December hogs finished up 1 at 81.75, February hogs shed 57 to 87.12.
U.S. live-cattle futures rose sharply Wednesday, hitting an eight-month high, amid expectations for tighter beef supplies in coming months and improved economic sentiment. December live Cattle jumped 102 to $128, February cattle, the most-active contract, gained 11 to $131.
US corn and soybean futures settled lower after a choppy, low-volume session ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Technical trading drove prices, but corn was also pressured by a fall in ethanol production last week. Soybeans fell after rising on Tuesday, as the outlook for world supplies remains improved from past months. Wheat futures ended mixed, supported by concerns about dryness for crops in the Great Plains, but pressured by lower corn prices and worries about weak wheat export demand. December corn fell 2 1/4 to $7.41, January soybeans dropped 4 1/2 at $14.08, December wheat in Chicago gained 1/4 at $8.45, and December wheat in KC fell 1 ¼ to $8.76.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 2 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.31-$8.20 at feed mills and $7.26-$7.71 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 4 cents lower and were $13.93 at processors, and $13.48-$13.78 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was not quoted. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $482.90 per ton for 48% protein.
The NC egg market is steady on all sizes. Supplies are light on large, moderate on the balance. Retail demand is good. Weighted average prices for small lot sales of Grade A eggs delivered to nearby retail outlets: Extra Large 151.57, Large 153.12, Medium 122.86 and Small 102.00.
2012 Season CABBAGE: 50 lb cartons Round Green Type med 8.00-10.00
In cotton futures, traders appeared to be rolling positions forward as December's first-notice day approaches, leaving traders with Friday to square positions if they don't intend to take delivery or wish to trade in what will likely be a low-volume environment. December new crop cotton fell 20 to end at 72.38, while March gained 17 to end at 72.66.
Gold futures inched into positive territory Wednesday as some investors stocked up on the haven asset amid anxiety about the Middle East conflict while others were lured to the market by a weaker dollar. December gold rose $4.60 to $1,728.20, and December silver closed at $33.35, up 42.0 cents.
Oil futures ended slightly higher Wednesday, giving back stronger gains after a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel calmed fears that a broader war was on the horizon. The modest increase capped a day marked by wide price swings and heavy news flow, even if trading volumes were thin ahead of the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the U.S. January crude gained 63 cents to $87.38 a barrel, December gasoline gained 3.70 cents to $2.74 a gallon, and December distillates gained 3.30 cents to $3.07 a gallon.
Natural gas futures rose Wednesday to a fresh one-year high as shrinking U.S. gas stockpiles signaled increasing demand for the fuel. Natural gas futures jumped 7.1 cents to $3.90.
On Wall Street, stocks rose on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 up for a fourth session, although trading volume was one of the year's lowest on the day ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. The Dow gained 48 to close at 12,836, the Nasdaq closed at 2,926, up 9 and the S&P 500 gained 3 to close at 1,391.