U.S. lean-hog futures settled flat to narrowly lower despite strengthening wholesale pork prices.
February lean-hog futures finished unchanged at 87.10, April hogs, the most actively traded contract, shed 37 to 89.25. Other contracts were mixed.
Live-cattle futures closed narrowly lower Wednesday, pressured by sluggish demand for beef from U.S. retailers.
February live-cattle futures shed 27 to $128, April cattle, the most actively traded contract, declined 5 to $132 a pound.
At the weekly livestock auction held Tuesday at Mount Airy a total of 447 cattle and 54 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended $4.00 to $ 4.50 lower, feeder steers trended mixed, and heifers trended $4.00 to $ 4.50 higher when compared to the last sale. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $70.00 to $79.50. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $90.00 to $99.50 with high dressing up to $105.00.
U.S. soybean futures continued to trade at six-week highs as trading ended Wednesday, boosted by a forecast for drier weather affecting crops in Argentina. Dry weather emerged in Argentina earlier this month to threaten hopes for bumper soybean crops in South America. Updated forecasts on Wednesday showed lower predicted rainfall this weekend and over the next two weeks in Argentina. Corn futures also rose on forecasts for drier weather in Argentina, a major corn exporter, and on the higher prices for soybeans. Technical buying also supported corn. Wheat futures were pulled higher by the gains in soybeans and corn.
March soybeans gained 27 to $14.78, the highest settlement for the front-month contract since Dec. 17. March corn rose 10 3/4 to $7.40, March wheat in Chicago rose 10 to $7.87, and March wheat in KC also gained 10 to $8.40.
N.C. EGGS: The market is steady on all sizes. Supplies are moderate. Retail demand is good. Weighted average prices for small lot sales of grade A eggs delivered to nearby retail outlets: Extra Large 161.61, Large 160.84, Medium 122.86, and Small 102.00.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 10 to 11 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.60-$8.15 at feed mills and $7.65-8.00 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 27 cents higher and were $14.78 at processors, and $13.92-$14.64 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $477.70 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton futures are edged higher as the weaker dollar encouraged foreign buyers to make purchases in the market. March cotton gained 56 to 82.95, but the May contract fell 8 to 82.50.
Gold futures ended Wednesday trade at their highest level in a week as weaker U.S. economic data soothed worries that the Federal Reserve would cut short its easy-money policies. April Gold rose $18.90 to $1,681.60, March silver gained $1.03 to $32.24.
Crude-oil futures settled modestly higher Wednesday as gasoline-futures gained for a 10th straight day and the U.S. Federal Reserve voted to keep its low-interest-rate policy in place. March crude oil gained 37 cents to$97.94 a barrel, February gasoline jumped 6.53 cents to $3.03 a gallon, and February distillates gained a fraction to $3.11 a gallon.
Natural gas futures rose Wednesday ahead of weekly government data due today that are expected to show a steep decline in U.S. gas stockpiles. March Natural gas gained 7.7 cents to $3.33.
On Wall Street, stocks fell after the Federal Reserve said in its latest statement that economic growth had stalled but indicated the pullback was likely temporary. The Dow fell 44 to 13,910, the Nasdaq closed at 3,142, down 11, and the S&P 500 lost 5 to 1,501.