U.S. lean-hog futures settled mixed Tuesday, as technical buying in nearby contracts was offset by concerns that large supplies of pork will emerge in the spring. February lean-hogs added 5 to 86.35, the April contract picked up 4 to 89.95. Deferred contracts were mixed at the close, leaning lower.
U.S. live-cattle futures closed lower Tuesday, weighed down by sluggish domestic beef demand. Thin or negative margins for beef packers, due to relatively weak wholesale beef prices, are also keeping a cap on cash-market prices. February live-cattle futures shed 45 to $132, April Live cattle also fell, dropping 4 to $136.
At the livestock auctions held Monday in Siler City, Canton and Turnersburg, a total of 2,231 cattle, 37 goats and 3 sheep were sold. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $70-$86, with high dressing up to $89. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold from $85-$97.50, with high dressing up to $103.
U.S. corn futures ended higher Tuesday, regaining some ground after tumbling for most of the past three weeks as traders shed risk before Friday's U.S. government forecasts on supply and demand. The uncertainty about what the USDA reports will show led to short covering and trade positioning across grain and soybean markets. However, end-of-the-day profit-taking cut most of the gains in wheat and soybean markets. March corn ended up 3 1/4 to $6.88, March wheat in Chicago ended down 3/4 at $7.50, Kansas City Board of Trade March wheat rose 1 1/4 to $8.08, and January soybeans finished up 3 at $14.13.
U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended three cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.08-$7.59 at feed mills and $6.99-$7.48 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended mixed and were $13.86 at processors, and $13.04-$13.72 at elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $460.90 per ton for 48% protein.
Fruit and vegetable prices (shipping point f.o.b.): Cabbage: Demand fairly good. Market about steady. 50 pound cartons Round Green Type medium $8.
Cotton futures slid under pressure from the stronger US dollar, which deters foreign buyers from purchasing the fiber. But analysts say there's still potential upside for US exports. March cotton fell 46 to75.12, and the May contract lost 55 to 75.98.
Gold prices rose Tuesday on signals that Chinese buyers were stocking up on the precious metal ahead of the lunar new year. February gold rose $15.90 to $1,662.20, and March silver closed at $30.46, up 38.3 cents
U.S. crude futures settled nearly flat Tuesday, holding close to four-month highs as traders await government data on U.S. oil and fuel supplies. February crude fell four cents to $93.15 a barrel, February gasoline gained 1.70 cents to $2.7944 a gallon, and February distillate closed at $3.05 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures prices settled weaker Tuesday under continued pressure from weather forecasts showing above-normal temperatures lingering in the heavily populated eastern U.S. for the next two weeks. February natural-gas fell 4.8 cents to $3.21.
On Wall Street, stocks fell on Tuesday, retreating from last week’s rally on the ‘fiscal cliff’ deal in Washington, as companies started to report results for the fourth quarter. The Dow fell 55 to 13,328, the Nasdaq lost 7 to 3,091, and the S&P 500 fell 4 ¾ to 1,457.