U.S. lean-hog futures were mostly lower Wednesday, as the front-month contract fell to a fresh 4 1/2-month low on sluggish demand and technical selling. April lean hogs fell 35 to 77.87, the lowest closing price for the spot contract since early November. The June contract rose 225 to 88.50
CME live-cattle futures ended higher, rebounding after falling to fresh contract lows on Tuesday. April live cattle ended up 75 to $126, the June contract gained 92 to $121
At the weekly livestock auction held Tuesday at Mount Airy a total of 530 cattle and 84 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mixed, feeder steers trended $4.00 to $10.00 higher, and heifers trended $8.00 to $11.50 lower when compared to the previous week. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $77.00 to $88.50. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $92.00 to $103.00 with high dressing up to $106.50.
U.S. wheat futures rose Wednesday, boosted by technical buying and expectations for stronger demand. Soybean futures rose Wednesday on bargain-hunting after a six-day string of declines took May soybeans to a two-month closing low. Corn futures were pulled higher by the gains in wheat.
May wheat in Chicago gained 14 to $7.36, May wheat in KC rose 14 1/2 to $7.66, May soybean futures rose 13 to $14.19, and May corn futures rose 4 to $7.32.
N.C. EGGS: The market is steady on small and medium, higher on the balance. Supplies are moderate for small and medium, light 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 155.22, Large 151.34, Medium 121.86, and Small 83.00.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 4 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.52-$8.18 at feed mills and $7.52-8.17 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 13 cents higher and were $14.54 at processors, and $13.66-$14.19 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was 14 cents higher and ranged $6.34-$7.16 at the elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $458.80 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton futures slipped Wednesday on expectations for a pullback in demand due to a rapid rise in prices. May Cotton finished down 23 at 88.75, and December new crop fell 28 to 87.98.
Gold futures prices eased a bit Wednesday, while industrially focused on other precious metals as investors awaited news from the Federal Reserve's policymaking meeting. April gold fell $3.80 to $1,607.50, and April silver lost almost 6 cents to $28.78.
Crude-oil futures settled higher Wednesday, fueled by higher refinery processing rates and despite concerns over signs of weak gasoline demand ahead of the peak driving season. April crude expired 80 cents higher, at $92.96 a barrel, April gasoline rebounded sharply late in the session, but traders said the move likely reflected bargain buying after Tuesday's steep selloff. April gasoline gained 7.12 cents to $3.11 a gallon, and April distillates gained 2.80 cents to $2.89 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures ended nearly where they began Wednesday as investors await weekly data on U.S. gas stockpiles. April Natural gas fell a fraction to $3.96.
Stock markets around the world closed higher on Wednesday as the Federal Reserve held firm to its plan to stimulate the U.S. economy, while the euro steadied on hopes European policymakers would contain the financial crisis in Cyprus. On Wall Street the Dow gained 55 to close at 14,511, the Nasdaq closed at 3,254, up 25 and the S&P 500 gained 10 to 1,558.