U.S. lean-hog futures finished mixed Wednesday, as some market participants took profits on expectations that demand may ease as retailers finish holiday buying of hams and other pork products. December hog futures gained 55 to 85.00 cents, the highest closing price in four months for the front-month contract. February futures, the most-actively traded contract, added 12 to 85.65.
U.S. live-cattle futures finished narrowly higher Wednesday, supported by strong equity markets, as traders built in expectations of smaller beef supplies going into next year. December live-cattle gained 2 to $126, February live-cattle, the most actively traded contract, settled up 37 to $130.
At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 660 cattle and 25 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mostly steady; bulls were mixed.
U.S. soybean futures jumped Wednesday amid strong export demand and concerns about unfavorable weather for soy planting in parts of Argentina. Wheat futures gained modestly, supported by hopes for greater export demand and concerns about threats to world production. Traders are optimistic about increased demand as U.S. wheat has become more competitive in world markets. Corn futures ended higher, taking support from higher soy prices, but remained confined within recent trading ranges.
January soybeans finished up 23 3/4 at $14.79, March wheat in Chicago ended up 3 1/2 to $8.60, March wheat in KC rose 5 1/4 to $9.07, and March corn ended up 5 3/4 to $7.57.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended three to seven cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.43-$8.27 at feed mills and $7.49-$7.83 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 12 to 24 cents higher and were $14.59 at processors, and $13.84-$14.44 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was not established. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $503.20 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton futures ticked higher ahead of today’s USDA export-sales report as traders continue to anticipate robust demand from cotton-spinning countries ex-China. March cotton gained 13 to 73.04, and the May contract gained 14 to 74.01.
Gold futures eased to a one-month low on Wednesday after a day of indecisive trading, as persistent worries about potential shifts in U.S. tax policy and a cut in Goldman Sachs's gold-price forecast pushed traders to the sidelines. February gold fell $2 to $1,693.80, and February silver gained 14 cents to $32.93.
Crude-oil futures fell Wednesday, pulled lower by a 1.7% drop in gasoline futures, after government data showed a surge in fuel stockpiles that suggests production is outpacing demand. Gasoline futures for January delivery fell 5.12 cents to a three-week low of $2.6378 a gallon, January crude-oil fell 62 cents to $87.88 a barrel.
Natural-gas futures rose on forecasts for colder weather even as meteorologists remained unsure of exactly how much colder it would get. January Natural-gas futures settled at $3.70, up 16.1 cents.
On Wall Street, stocks rose in a choppy session on Wednesday after President Barack Obama said a deal to avert the looming fiscal cliff was possible within a week, while the euro slipped after a disappointing Spanish bond auction. The Dow gained 112 to 13,064, the Nasdaq closed at 2,983, down 12, and the S&P 500 gained 5 to 1,412.