U.S. lean hog futures faced a bumpy morning on Wednesday but surged upward later in the session, jolted by growing suspicions that more affordable pork prices will attract cash-squeezed beef eaters. April hogs finished up 140 to 89.20, June hogs rose 92 to 98.60.
U.S. live cattle futures gained ground on Wednesday, pulling hog futures higher in the process on signs that recent high prices for cattle could last through this week. April live cattle surged 147 to $129, March feeder cattle closed up 147 to $157.
US wheat futures ended mostly higher on strength in neighboring grains and short-covering. March wheat in Chicago ended up 2 to $6.64, and KC wheat slipped, with the March contract closing down 1 1/2 to $7.08.
US corn futures rose as the market was dragged higher by surging soybean prices and technical buying. March corn ended up 3 at $6.56.
US soybean futures jumped as strong export demand and limited farmer selling bolster the market. March soy ended up 8 1/4 at $13.13, helping March soy meal rise $4.70 to $351.20, But March soy oil, pressured by crude oil's weakness, slipped 33 to 54.09.
ICE cotton futures stumble on a stronger dollar and weaker outside markets, with the front-month contract settling below 90c/pound for the 4th session in 6, a sign that this week's slight recovery is not a game-changer for the market. March cotton fell 180 to 89.86, and the May contract also lost 180 to close at 90.44.
Gold slumped to a one-month low, and silver fell by almost 7% on Wednesday as investors bet that further monetary stimulus from the Federal Reserve wasn't near after comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke. April Gold fell $77.10 to $1,711.30, and May silver closed at $34.64, down $2.56.
Oil futures edged higher Wednesday, shrugging off a bigger-than-expected increase in U.S. oil inventories that highlighted the weak pace of demand in the world's biggest oil consumer. April crude gained 52 cents, to $107.07 a barrel, March gasoline gained a fraction to $3.04 a gallon, and March distillates fell 3.58 cents, to $3.18 a gallon. Both contracts expired at the close of trading.
On Wall Street stocks closed in the red Wednesday, as Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke dashed hopes for further monetary stimulus during his speech to congress. The Dow lost 53 to close at 12,952, the Nasdaq closed at 2,966, down 19 and the S&P 500 fell 6 ½ to close at 1,365.