U.S. live cattle futures crashed on Tuesday before the federal government announced it found mad-cow disease in a California dairy cow, triggering fears that demand could go into freefall. April live Cattle fell 300 to close at $111, April feeders fell 102 to $148.
Lean hog futures closed down sharply as the big declines in cattle futures weighed sharply on the pork complex. May hog futures fell 142 to 86.60, June hog futures fell 125 to 86.55.
US soybean futures surged to close at a three-and-a-half-year high on expectations for a smaller Argentine crop and growing demand. Forecasts for possible frost or an early freeze in Argentina raised concerns about lower yields for the country's soy crop, while cash markets are strong and analysts expect consistent demand from China. May soybeans closed up 24 at $14.61; May soy meal rose $12.30 to $412.10; May soy oil gained 20 to 55.29. May corn fell 4 1/4 to $6.18, CBOT May wheat in Chicago fell 1/2 to $6.24; May wheat in KC fell 2 1/4 to $6.33.
Benchmark cotton futures again hovered near 90c/lb, with a failed attempt to move higher after Monday's slight bounce. May cotton fell 104 to 89.36, while the more-actively traded July contract ended down 102 at 91.46.
Gold futures edged higher on Tuesday, as calm in European markets weighed on the U.S. dollar and drew buyers to the precious metals, but trading was thin ahead of this week's monetary policy announcement from the Federal Reserve. June gold rose $11.20 to $1,643.80 an ounce, and May silver closed at $30.74, up 21.5 cents.
U.S. crude-oil futures rose Tuesday as investors positioned ahead of weekly inventory data that are expected to show increasing oil stockpiles. June crude gained 44 cents to$103.55 a barrel, May gasoline fell 2.8 cents to$3.15 a gallon, while May distillates fell 1.03 cents to $3.12 a gallon.
Natural gas futures fell Tuesday, dropping back below $2 as investors grow skeptical that a late-season winter storm will put a dent in record U.S. supplies. May Natural gas fell 3.2 cents to $1.97.
The Dow and the S&P 500 rose on Tuesday after strong earnings and upbeat outlooks from big manufacturers like 3M Co, but Apple's slide ahead of its results drove the Nasdaq down. The Dow gained 74 to close at 13,0001, the Nasdaq closed at 2,961, down 8, and the S&P 500 gained 5 to close at 1,371.