U.S. live cattle and lean hog futures moved higher Tuesday in the wake of Memorial Day weekend, the cornerstone of the spring grilling season. Lean hog futures closed higher for the third straight session after outside market strength and technical support helped lift futures, sparking another round of short covering. June hog futures finished up 115 at 86.35, July hog futures rose 110 to 87.67. June live cattle rose 2 to $117, August feeders fell 92 to close at $157.
U.S. wheat futures tumbled Tuesday, as the U.S. harvest produced fair initial results and traders worried that a recent rally had a weak foundation.
July wheat in Chicago fell 23 1/4 to $6.56, July wheat in KC fell 22 to $6.78. Also Tuesday, corn futures fell to a fresh 17-month closing low for the front-month contract as expectations for substantial rain this week in the corn belt eased worries about spotty dryness there. The drop in wheat also weighed on corn, as did concerns that U.S. corn has become less competitive in export markets due to falling prices for freshly harvested corn from Brazil and Argentina. July corn fell 16 to $5.62.
Soybean futures ended slightly higher after giving up further gains made earlier in the session. Soybean prices remain underpinned by expectations for strong demand, especially from China, amid tighter world supplies after production shortfalls in drought-stricken South America. July soybeans rose 4 3/4 to $13.86.
ICE cotton futures ended lower, again flirting with 27-month low. While Monday’s move was likely speculators taking profits, another drop to as low as 65c/lb is possible by the summer, says John Flanagan of brokerage Flanagan Trading Corp. July cotton fell 82 to close at 72.80, and the October contract dropped a penny to 72.71.
June gold fell $22.90 to $1553.60, and June silver lost 61 cents to $27.76.
Crude oil futures ended little changed Tuesday after broad swings triggered by fresh worries over European economic problems and concerns over the next step in the ongoing talks with western power and Iran over its nuclear program. July crude fell 10 cents to $90.76 a barrel, June distillates fell 2 cents to $2.80 a gallon, the lowest settlement price since Dec. 19, and June gasoline gained 1.36 cents to$2.90 a gallon.
Natural gas futures tumbled Tuesday, declining for the third straight session on concerns that the recent rally has sapped utilities' demand for the fuel. June Natural gas dropped 13.9 cents to $2.42.
On Wall Street, stocks rose on Tuesday as signs Greece would stay in the euro zone were enough to spark buying in what has been a weak month for equities, while Facebook plumbed new lows on high volume. The Dow gained 125 to 12,580, the Nasdaq closed at 2,870, up 33 and the S&P 500 gained 14 to close at 1,332.