U.S. lean-hog futures declined Wednesday amid renewed concerns about domestic pork demand. April futures fell 8 to 80.65, after trading higher at the start of the session. June hogs fell 97 to 90.07.
U.S. live-cattle futures settled modestly lower Wednesday, reversing earlier gains as cash-market bids for cattle disappointed traders. April live-cattle futures declined 15 to $128, June live-cattle futures fell 42, to $123.
At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 664 cattle and 69 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mostly steady; bulls were 1.00 to 2.00 higher. M&L 1-2 feeder steers, 400-600 lbs., trended mostly 3.00 to 7.00 lower; heifers were 75 cents to 8.50 higher. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $76.50-$88, with high dressing up to $96.50. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold from $90-$103, with high dressing ranging $104-$106.
U.S. soybean futures fell for the second straight session Wednesday, settling at their lowest level in nearly two weeks amid slowing export demand for the oilseed. Corn futures settled lower, reversing from a fresh five-week high set overnight, with expectations for corn buyers to look for substitutes to corn weighing on prices. Wheat futures ended mixed, with soft red winter wheat futures rebounding from early session losses on strong demand for wheat from Great Plains feed lots.
March soybeans dropped 14 3/4 to $14.75, May corn ended down 4 at $7.10, May wheat in Chicago ended up 6 1/2 at $7.10, and Kansas City Board of Trade May wheat rose 2 1/2 to $7.37.
U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended steady to four cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.10-$8.00 at feed mills and $7.35-$8.21 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended mostly 14 to 22 cents lower and were $14.77 at processors, and $14.07-$14.42 at elevators. U.S. 2 soft red winter wheat trended six cents higher and was $6.08-$6.90 at the elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $473.90 per ton for 48% protein.
North Carolina’s egg prices trended steady on small, higher on the balance. Supplies of extra-large, large and medium are light; small are moderate. Retail demand is good. The North Carolina weighted average price for small lot sales of delivered, cartoned, grade “A” eggs was 143.97 for Extra Large, 138.54 for Large, 116.12 for Medium, and 83.00 for Small eggs.
Cotton futures climbed Wednesday to their highest price in nearly 11 months, as traders worried about the near-term availability of the fiber outside of China, its No. 1 producer and consumer. May cotton gained 67 to 88.00, and December ne crop closed unchanged at 86.96.
Gold futures fell on Wednesday, under pressure from a rising U.S. dollar and data showing an uptick in retail sales in the world's largest economy. April gold fell $3.30 to $1,588.40, and April silver fell 21 to $28.94.
Natural-gas futures rose Wednesday to a fresh three-month high as weather forecasts suggest heating demand will remain strong through the last weeks of winter. Colder-than-normal temperatures are expected across the Northeast and large portions of the Midwest for the next two weeks, according to private forecasters. April Natural gas gained 3.5 cents to $3.68.
Attempts to push a rally in U.S. crude-oil futures prices into a fifth day faltered Wednesday under the weight of rising inventories and worries over weak demand. crude oil for April delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled 2 cents lower, at $92.52 a barrel, April gasoline was a fraction lower at $3.14 a gallon, April distillates fell 2.42 cents to $2.92 a gallon.
On Wall Street, stocks edged up with the Dow rising for the ninth straight session to another record buoyed by surprisingly strong retail sales that suggested the economy is gaining momentum. The Dow gained 5 to close at 14,455, the Nasdaq closed at 3,245, up 2 and the S&P gained 2 as well to close at 1,554.