U.S. lean-hog futures on Wednesday continued to reflect the effects from the U.S. drought, including a flood of hogs and pork into wholesale markets. Hog contracts for October closed down 57 at 73.62, and the December contract shed 57 to close at 71.87.
Live-cattle futures finished the session narrowly mixed as traders weighed signs of near-term demand against the broad sell-off in commodity markets. October live cattle gained 15 to $126, and October feeders gained 17 to $147.
At the livestock auctions held Tuesday at Mount Airy a total of 389 cattle and 10 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady to $1.50 lower, feeder steers were mixed, and feeder heifers were $2.00 to $10.00 lower when compared to last week’s sales.
At the monthly video sales held at Southeast Livestock Exchange and Mid-Atlantic Cattle Sales September 4-5, an estimated 2,984 cattle were sold.
Front-month U.S. wheat futures fell Wednesday to a three-week low, pressured by lackluster export demand and lower corn prices. Corn futures were pressured by harvest-season hedging, as elevators that buy physical grain also sell futures as a hedge. Soybeans were pressured by weaker cash markets as physical supplies become cheaper relative to futures due to the coming soy harvest. September corn fell 17 1/4 to $7.89, September wheat, in Chicago lightly traded ahead of the contract's expiration fell 20 1/4 to $8.45, and thinly traded September soybeans fell 23 to $17.48.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 15 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.71-$8.65 at feed mills and $7.75-8.26 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 21 cents lower and were $18.07 at processors, and $16.98-$17.98 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat trended 15 cents lower. Prices were $7.56-$7.66 at the elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $592.00 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton futures edged lower in thin trade, pressured by beneficial late monsoon rains in second-largest producer India and fresh concerns about global demand for the fiber. In addition, aftermath of former Hurricane Isaac showed little damage to domestic crops, December cotton fell 33 to 75.35, and near month October fell 14 to 74.89.
Gold futures edged lower Wednesday, ending just shy of $1,700, as hopes for the European Central Bank to unveil plans for a bond-purchasing program were offset by reports the impact of such a program on inflation would be limited. December gold fell $2 to $1,694, December silver closed at $32.32, down 8.2 cents.
Crude oil futures settled slightly higher Wednesday, awaiting guidance from today's U.S. oil inventory data and signals from the European Central Bank's policy meeting. October crude oil futures gained 6 cents to $95.36 a barrel, October gasoline fell a fraction to $2.94 a gallon, a one-month low, reflecting the end of the peak summer driving season, and October distillates fell 2.92 cents lower to $3.11.
Natural-gas futures fell Wednesday as forecasters called for cooler temperatures next week, threatening demand for gas-powered air conditioning. October Natural gas fell 5.9 cents to $2.79.
On Wall Street, stocks closed out a second straight session of thin trading with investors reluctant to make big bets ahead of a crucial meeting of the European Central Bank, which could announce new policies to help contain the euro zone’s debt crisis. The Dow gained 11 to 13.047, the Nasdaq closed at 2,069, down 5 and the S&P 500 dropped 1 ½ to 1,403.