U.S. lean hog futures nearly lost hold of their six-day rally Monday as traders took profits from deferred contracts even as front-month hog futures extended recent gains. June hog rose for the seventh straight day, finishing up 47 at 91.20, the July contract fell 52 to 91.05.
Live cattle futures finished mostly higher even as caution over demand in the weeks ahead forced front-month contracts to skip the rally. June cattle closed a tick lower, very close to unchanged, at $117, August feeder cattle gained 110 to $158.
Corn futures closed higher, boosted by concerns that dry soil in the U.S. corn belt could strain the development of crops if more rains don't come soon. Monday's bounce followed volatile trading in U.S. corn futures Friday, when the grain sunk to a fresh 17-month closing low, capping a week of losses fueled by mounting jitters over the euro-zone debt crisis and signs of slowing growth for the U.S. economy. July Corn rose 16 ½ to $5.68.
Wheat futures also closed higher Monday, as a sharp decline last week attracted buyers expecting a rebound. July wheat rose 15 1/2 to $6.27, July wheat in KC rose 18 to $6.55.
Soybean futures ended mixed. Monday morning USDA announced the sale of 165,000 metric tons of soybeans by private exporters to China for delivery in the 2012-13 marketing year. The announcement boosted deferred soybean contracts but led front-month futures to fall, as analysts inferred that China's buying interest has fallen for old-crop soybeans harvested last year and now in storage. July soybeans ended down 4 1/4 at $13.40
ICE cotton futures ended down slightly, but the market calmed by the end of the session that had seen prices fall to their lowest point since November 2009. Current prices could discourage farmers from planting the fiber, which could spark a turnaround over time. July futures finished a scant 6 lower at 68.53, the October contract lost 107 to close at 67.78.
Gold futures pulled back Monday after Friday's surge, as investors were reluctant to bet on further gains in holiday-thinned trading and ahead of potentially market-moving announcements this week from central banks. August gold fell $8.20 to $1,613.90, Jul silver closed at $28.00, down 50.5 cents
Crude futures broke a four-session losing streak Monday, posting gains on signs that European leaders may be readying further steps to support the currency union. July crude gained 75 cents to $83.98 a barrel, May gasoline gained 1.39 cents to $2.67 a gallon, May distillates fell a fraction to $2.62 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures rallied Monday on expectations rising temperatures will boost demand for gas-powered cooling. July Natural gas gained 8.9 cents to $2.41
On Wall Street, the major indexes ended mixed on Monday after recent sharp losses, though worries about the European debt crisis and weaker U.S. data kept investors wary of equities. The Dow fell 17 to close at 12,101, the tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at 2,760, up 12, and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 1,278.