U.S. lean-hog futures closed lower, pressured by sluggish cash prices and Tuesday's decline in wholesale pork prices. April futures shed 57 to 81.00, May hogs fell 3 to 89.20.
U.S. live-cattle futures rose on Wednesday on the back of higher wholesale beef prices and expectations that slaughter-ready cattle supplies may be lighter this week. February live cattle rose 127 to finish at $128, February live cattle rose 127 to finish at $128.
At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 322 cattle and 9 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended about steady; bulls were 2.50 to 4.00 higher. M&L 1-2 feeder cattle, 400-600 lbs., trended mixed. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $76.50-$87, with high dressing up to $91.50. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold from $91-$99, with high dressing ranging $100-$103.
U.S. soybean futures settled higher Wednesday, boosted by concerns about tight supplies and a fresh sign of strong export demand.
Soybeans also benefited from the latest sign of robust export demand. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said private exporters reported selling 120,000 metric tons of soybeans for delivery to unknown buyers in the 2012-13 marketing year, which ends Aug. 31, and another 120,000 metric tons to China for the next marketing year. Corn futures rose Wednesday on low delivery expectations for first-notice day and on a continued recovery in domestic ethanol production. Wheat futures traded higher most of the day, but suddenly dropped at the end of the session on technically driven selling.
March soybeans gained 9 3/4 to $14.57, March wheat in Chicago fell 1 1/2 to$7.04, March wheat in KC gained 1 ½ to $7.34, and March corn gained 4 1/2 to $7.09.
U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended mostly four to five cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $6.95-$7.79 at feed mills and $7.34-$7.89 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended mostly eight to ten cents higher and were $14.64 at processors, and $13.97-$14.19 at elevators. New crop U.S. 2 soft red winter wheat was $6.15-$7.28. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $474.30 per ton for 48% protein.
North Carolina’s egg prices trended steady on all sizes. Supplies are moderate. Retail demand is moderate. The North Carolina weighted average price for small lot sales of delivered, cartoned, grade “A” eggs was 126.14 for Extra Large, 123.04 for Large, 97.86 for Medium, and 83.00 for Small eggs.
Cotton futures jumped Wednesday on expectations of an uptick in demand for the fiber. May Cotton rose 25 to 84.38, and December new crop gained 18 to 84.70.
Gold futures settled below $1,600 Wednesday, amid renewed concerns the Federal Reserve would roll back its monetary-easing measures sooner than investors expect. April fell $19.80 to $1,595.70, May silver closed at $28.98, down 33.5 cents.
Gasoline futures tumbled Wednesday to a one-month low, a hopeful sign for drivers, after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration offered an improving outlook for domestic fuel supplies. Crude-oil futures finished with slight gains, gaining 13 cents to $92.76 a barrel, March gasoline futures fell 12.51 cents to $2.85 a gallon, and March distillates fell 4.38 cents to $2.98 a gallon.
Natural gas futures prices settled slightly lower Wednesday, erasing earlier gains after weather forecasts turned warmer. April Natural gas fell 2.2 cents to $3.43.
On Wall Street, stocks rallied for a second straight day on Wednesday as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reaffirmed his strong support for the Fed's stimulus efforts, while the euro climbed after solid demand at an auction of Italian government debt. The Dow gained 175 to 14,075, the Nasdaq closed at 3,162, up 32, and the S&P gained 19 10 1,515.