U.S. lean-hog futures fell slightly, weighed down by spillover selling pressure from weaker live- and feeder-cattle futures, and traders realigning their positions in deferred contracts. February hog futures dropped 1 to 85.15, the April contract shed 17 to 87.42.
U.S. live-cattle futures fell Wednesday, hitting a one-month low on front-month charts, as sluggish beef demand and lackluster wholesale prices weighed on the market. February live-cattle fell 19 to $128, live cattle for April slid 172 to $132.
At the weekly livestock auction held Tuesday at Mount Airy a total of 323 cattle and 16 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady, feeder steers trended mixed, and heifers trended mixed when compared to the last sale. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $74.50 to $83.50. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $97.00 with high dressing up to $98.00.
U.S. soybean futures rose Wednesday, boosted by technical buying and concerns about drier weather for crops in South America. Corn futures also rose Wednesday, supported by strong expectations for demand for corn used in animal feed. But corn's gains were limited by news of lower ethanol production. Wheat futures rose, extending recent gains on stronger domestic demand and threats to crop production in the southern Plains. A USDA report on Friday showed greater demand for wheat used in animal feed than traders had expected. March soybeans gained 23 to $14.36, March corn futures rose 3/4 to $7.31, March wheat in Chicago rose 2 1/4 to $7.85, a fresh three-week closing high, and March wheat in KC rose 4 1/4 to $8.42.
N.C. EGGS: The market is steady on small and medium, higher on the balance. 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 136.52, Large 135.75, Medium 110.86, and Small 102.00.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended steady to 1 cent higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.50-$8.01 at feed mills and $7.41-7.91 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 23 cents higher and were $14.46 at processors, and $13.43-$14.22 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $469.10 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton futures rallied to a 12-week high Wednesday as doubts about future Chinese demand for the fiber eased. China, which is expected to have almost half of the world's supply of cotton in its warehouses by July, began selling from its reserves to domestic mills this week. The futures market had feared the auctions would crush demand for imported cotton. March cotton gained 52 to 76.73, and the May contract gained 94 to 77.78.
Crude-oil futures prices climbed to settle at a near four-month high Wednesday, after a surprise decline in nationwide U.S. crude-oil stocks. oil February crude gained 96 cents to $94.24 a barrel, February gasoline posted the biggest rise in a week, gaining 1.48 cents, at $2.72 a gallon, while distillates fell 1.22 cents, to $2.99 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures fell Wednesday, ending a four-session winning streak, as traders await government data on U.S. gas inventories. February Natural fell 2 cents to $3.43.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 ended nearly flat on Wednesday as solid earnings from two major banks and a bounce back in Apple shares offset concerns about a lower forecast for global growth in 2013. The Dow fell 23 to 13,511, the Nasdaq closed at 3,117, up 6 and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 1,472.