Lean-hog futures extended their gains into the end of the session amid short covering and technical trading, after sliding to the lowest levels in nearly two months on Tuesday. December hogs added 82 to 86.25, February hogs gained 102 to 90.92.
U.S. live cattle futures ended the session narrowly higher Wednesday, trading on both sides of unchanged for much of the day, as traders assess signals for beef demand at restaurants and grocery stores. December live cattle picked up 1 to $131, February Cattle added 27 to $131.
Corn futures fell for the sixth time in seven sessions on speculation that the U.S. crop is bigger than the record forecast earlier this month, and on concerns about lower usage of the grain to make ethanol. Wheat and soybeans also dropped. Wheat prices declined on speculation that demand for the grain in livestock rations will fall amid rising corn stockpiles. Soybeans also fell as favorable weather boosts crop prospects in Brazil, the world's biggest exporter of the oilseeds.
December Corn fell 3/4 to $4.17, December Wheat in Chicago fell 3 to $6.47, December KC wheat fell 3 to $6.95, and January Soybeans dropped 2 1/2 to $12.73.
Cotton futures climbed to a three-week high Wednesday, and ended mixed as traders covered bets that prices would fall, eyeing the potential for a smaller crop in No. 1 consumer China. December new crop cotton fell 25 to 75.63, and the March contract gained 58 to 78.14.
Gold futures extended their earlier losses on Wednesday as minutes from the Federal Reserve's most recent policy meeting showed some officials still expect a wind-down of the central bank's bond buying in the coming months. December gold finished down $17.90 at $1,255.30, December silver closed at $20.06, down 27.1 cents.
U.S. oil prices finished slightly lower Wednesday after Federal Reserve officials said they expect to begin scaling back the central bank's economic stimulus program "in coming months." December crude, which expired Wednesday, fell 1 cent to $93.33 a barrel, December gasoline gained 2.35 cents to $2.66 a gallon, and December distillates gained 4.87 cents to $2.95 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures surged Wednesday on expectations that colder temperatures through the end of the month would lead to increased use of natural gas to heat homes and offices. December Natural gas gained 11.8 cents to $3.67.
On Wall Street, stocks fell on Wednesday after minutes from the last Federal Reserve meeting said the central bank could begin to scale back its stimulus program at one of its next few meetings. The Dow fell 66 to 15,900, the Nasdaq closed at 3,921, down 10 and the S&P 500 fell 6 to 1,781.