U.S. lean-hog futures rallied Wednesday, climbing to multi-month highs on strong wholesale pork prices and tight near-term hog supplies. July lean hogs closed up 127 to 99.97, the August contract gained 107 to 98.37.
The strength in hogs helped pull live-cattle futures higher also, traders said. June live-cattle futures ended up 97 to $120, while August feeder-cattle closed up 85 at $144.
U.S. wheat futures sustained Wednesday's firm price trend, rallying to two-week highs on technical buying and uncertainty about this year's U.S. wheat crops. Corn and soybean futures fed off the price strength in wheat, with concerns about 2013 acreage and yield potential encouraging traders to shed some previous bets that prices would decline. July wheat in Chicago ended up 19 1/2 at $7.07, Kansas City Board of Trade July wheat climbed 20 1/2 to $7.39, July soybeans finished up 12 1/4 at $15.23, and July corn finished up 9 at $6.82.
Cotton futures settled lower after heavy rains fell in West Texas this week, which could help production in the top U.S. cotton-growing state. Growers there had been grappling with a severe drought that federal forecasters have said will reduce output this year. July cotton gained 50 to 85.48, and December new crop fell 32 to 87.00
Gold prices fell to a four-week low Wednesday in after-market trade after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke sketched a possible time line for ending the central bank's bond-buying program. August was fell $16.80 to $1,349.80 and July silver closed at $21.62 down 5.4 cents.
U.S. crude futures settled slightly lower Wednesday, as traders weighed the Federal Reserve's latest assessment of the U.S. economy and data on U.S. oil inventories. July crude fell 20 cents to $98.24 a barrel, July gasoline gained settled 1.30 cents to $2.8924 a gallon, and July distillates gained 1.08 cents to $2.97 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures moved higher Wednesday as hot weather approaching the eastern U.S. continued to spur expectations of increased gas demand. July Natural gas rose 6 cents to $3.96.
On Wall Street, stocks fell more than 1% on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the central bank would start to reduce its stimulus measures later this year if the economy is strong enough. The Dow fell 206 to 15,112, the Nasdaq lost 38 to finish at 3,443, and the S&P 500 closed at 1,628, down 22.