U.S. lean-hog futures Wednesday rallied on expectations for heavy snowfall in "hog country," which could bring transportation delays for pork production, pinching supplies in the near-term. February lean hogs gained 13 to 86.57, April hogs gained 117 to 91.45.
U.S. live-cattle futures hit a nine-month high Wednesday, amid expectations that winter storms in the central U.S. may pinch the beef-industry supply chain in the near term and further tighten inventories. Feeder cattle also rose. December live-cattle rose 125 to $129, January feeders added 127 to $153.
At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 401 cattle and 44 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended 50 cents to 7.00 higher; bulls were 2.00 to 4.50 higher.
US grain and soy futures settled lower, pressured by technical selling. Corn broke below the low end of its recent trading range, sparking a wave of selling, and traders were still concerned about weak demand for physical corn. Soybeans fall on technical signals and a lack of fresh demand. Wheat was up in the morning on export sales to Egypt, but it turned negative on pressure from corn and soybeans. March corn fell 17 at $7.03, January soybeans fell 29 at $14.37. March wheat in Chicago dropped 5 1/2 to $8.05, and March wheat in KC 2 ½ $8.58.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 17 to 18 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $6.93-$7.73 at feed mills and $7.28-$7.33 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended mostly 29 cents lower and were $14.11 at processors, and $13.57-$13.97 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was not established. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $491.50 per ton for 48% protein.
Fruit and vegetable prices (shipping point f.o.b.): Cabbage: Demand moderate. Market about steady. 50 pound cartons Round Green Type medium $7-$7.50 occasional $8.
Cotton futures held steady for a third consecutive session as traders squared up their positions before the holidays. March cotton fell 6 to 75.89, and the May contract dropped 11 to 76.62.
Gold futures eased, settling near a three-month low, as investors looked for progress in U.S. budget talks and took stock of gold's recent drop. February gold fell $3 to $1,667.70, February silver fell 52 cents to $31.13.
U.S. crude-oil futures rose Wednesday to a two-month high after government data showed a jump in demand for diesel and heating oil. January crude gained $1.58 to$89.51 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 5.22 cents to $2.74 a gallon, distillate futures rose to $3.03 a gallon.
Natural gas futures Wednesday resumed their downward tilt of recent days, falling ahead of a weekly inventory report that is expected to be bearish. Natural gas futures settled at $3.32.
On Wall Street, stocks sold off late in the day to close at session lows on Wednesday as talks to avert a year-end fiscal crisis turned sour, even as investors still expect a deal. The Dow fell 98 to 13,251, the Nasdaq fell 10 to 3,044, and the S&P 500 fell almost 11 to 1,435.