U.S. lean-hog futures ended mostly higher, rebounding from Tuesday losses as traders look for signs the market has bottomed and is embarking on a seasonal upswing. April lean hogs closed up 175 to 84.20, the May contract fell 47 to 92.75.
U.S. live-cattle futures continued to tumble Wednesday, ending near a four-month low on weak beef demand and technical selling. April live cattle closed down 19 to $117, April feeder cattle finished down 57 to $148.
US wheat futures fell, pressured by favorable weather for US and EU wheat crops, expectations for US winter wheat to be harvested and hit markets early, and private analytical firm Informa Economics estimating higher US winter wheat output than last year. May wheat in Chicago fell 18 3/4 to $6.39, May wheat in KC dropped 20 1/2 to $6.69. May corn fell 1 1/2 to $6.56, May soybeans gained 2 3/4 to $14.19; May soy meal rose $1.70 to $388.20; and May soy oil gained 12 to 56.02.
Cotton futures tumbled to near two-week lows falling ahead of the weekly USDA cotton sales and exports numbers, due out later this morning. May cotton fell 332 to close at 89.32, the July contract closed at 89.26, down 344.
Precious metals tumbled Wednesday, with gold ending at 12-week lows, as investors reacted to the Federal Reserve's reticence over further stimulus. June gold fell $57.90 to $1,614.10, and May silver closed at $31.04, down $2.22
Crude futures tumbled Wednesday after government data showed U.S. oil stockpiles rose by 9 million barrels, the largest weekly increase in more than three years. The report, which topped analysts' estimates calling for a 1.9-million-barrel increase, comes amid a surge in U.S. production that is forcing traders to refocus on the supply picture after tensions with Iran drove market action for much of the year. May crude fell $2.54 to $101.47 a barrel, May gasoline dropped 6.18 cents to $3.33 a gallon, and May distillates fell 6.66 cents to $3.16 a gallon.
Natural gas futures slid Wednesday as traders braced for a government's weekly survey expected to show another sizeable increase in gas inventories, as demand for the fuel remains weak. May Natural gas fell 4.6 cents to $2.14.
On Wall Street, after fading into the background for several weeks, tension over the European debt crisis flared up again on Wednesday on the back of a weak debt auction in Spain, igniting a selloff across equity and commodities markets. The Dow plunged 124 to close at 13,074, the Nasdaq closed at 3,068, down 45 and the S&P 500 lost 14 to close at 1,398.