U.S. lean-hog futures finished mostly higher Monday, as traders weighed the effects of lower anticipated demand with the cash discount. Nearby futures contracts are being buoyed by the 3 1/2-cent discount to the cash market, as the two prices must converge at the end of the week. December lean hogs slid 15 cent to 82.15, February contract gained 45 to 83.92.
U.S. live-cattle futures finished mostly lower Monday, held back by demand uncertainty, both in the domestic retail market and abroad. December live cattle were 27 lower at $125, February live cattle, the most actively traded contract, slipped 12 to $130.
At the livestock auction held Friday in Siler City a total of 1,385 cattle and 115 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady to 1.00 lower; bulls were 1.00 to 2.50 higher.
US wheat futures settled lower, slumping on tepid demand. Sluggish demand in recent weeks led to expectations for larger USDA supply forecasts this morning. Corn settled down in unison with wheat amid poor demand as well. Soybeans ended with modest gains, underpinned by robust demand. March wheat in Chicago fell 12 1/4 to $8.48; March wheat in KC fell 6 ½ to $9.03, January soybeans ended up 2 1/2 at $14.74; March corn settled down 7 1/4 at $7.30.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended mostly seven cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.20-$8 at feed mills and $7.26-$7.60 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended mostly two to three cents higher and were $14.49 at processors, and $13.94-$14.14 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was not established. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $502.40 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton reversed in late trade, settling lower as some investors squared positions ahead of the USDA's monthly supply/demand report, due at 8:30 this morning. March cotton fell 39 to 73.40, the May contract fell 35 to 74.35.
Gold and silver prices advanced Monday as some investors stocked up on precious metals ahead of the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy-setting meeting while others sought a haven from concerns about Europe's political upheaval. February gold rose $8.90 to $1,714.40, March silver gained 24.6 cents to $33.37.
A modest rally failed to hold Monday under the weight of global economic worries, with U.S. benchmark crude-oil futures prices falling for a fifth-straight day to end at a one-month low. January crude oil fell 37 cents to $85.56 a barrel, January gasoline gained a fraction to $2.59 a gallon, and January distillates fell for a sixth day, to the lowest level since Aug. 2 dropping 1.91 cents to $2.89 a gallon.
Natural gas futures sank lower Monday on the latest forecast for mild winter weather, a decline that is prompting discussion of just how much further the commodity could fall. Natural gas futures tumbled 9.1 cents to $3.46.
On Wall Street, stocks ended higher on Monday, led by gains in McDonald's and in technology shares, but Italian equities and bonds sank after Prime Minister Mario Monti's decision to resign stoked concern about who will lead the euro zone's third biggest economy out of its debt crisis. The Dow gained 14 to close at 13,169, the Nasdaq closed at 2,986, up almost 9 and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 1,418.