Lean-hog futures closed mixed with the first three contracts ending lower, pressured by weaker cash markets and recent declines in wholesale pork prices. Losses in futures were limited by their discounts to current cash prices. August lean hogs were down 50 at 95.80, and October hogs slipped 7 to 85.27.
Live and feeder cattle futures closed lower at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Wednesday. Live cattle traded narrowly mixed early in the day but slid when chart support levels began to give way, including the 100- and 20-day moving average. Feeder cattle were pressured by a combination of profit taking and their mildly overbought status entering the day. August live cattle closed down 82 at $121, October was 115 lower at $125, August feeders ended down 157 at $150.
U.S. corn futures fell Wednesday on a more favorable weather forecast for crops in the Midwest. Wheat futures were pulled lower by corn. Benchmark wheat futures remain near the middle of their trading range so far in July. Soybean futures were mixed. Nearby soybeans rose on worries about tight current supplies and strong demand from domestic processors.
September corn fell 6 3/4 to $5.38, September wheat in Chicago fell 4 1/2 to $6.65, September wheat in KC fell 1 ¼ to $7.02, and August soybeans rose 2 1/4 to $14.77
Cotton continued to slip as beneficial rain continued to fall on the southern Great Plains in Texas and Oklahoma, increasing the crop’s potential in the largest cotton growing region in the country. October cotton fell 60 to 84.07, and December new crop fell 70 to 83.67.
Gold futures fell Wednesday as traders cashed out as prices neared $1,300 a troy ounce and some investors were disappointed with comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. August gold fell $12.90 to $1,277.50, and September silver closed at $19.42, down 51.5 cents
Oil futures finished higher Wednesday after a government report showed a bigger-than-expected drop in U.S. crude stockpiles, as refiners ramped up operations. August crude gained 48 cents to $106.48 a barrel, August gasoline fell 2.42 cents to $3.11 a gallon, and August distillates gained 2.43 cents to $3.07 a gallon.
A three-day rally in natural-gas futures prices ended Wednesday amid forecasters said a heat wave in the northeastern U.S. will likely be followed by below-normal temperatures. August Natural gas fell 4.8 cents to $3.62.
On Wall Street, stocks ended modestly higher after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the timeline for winding down the US central bank’s stimulus program was not set in stone. The Dow gained 18 to close at 15,470, the Nasdaq closed at 3,610, up 11 and the S&P 500 gained 4 to 1,680.