U.S. lean hog futures surged Wednesday as investors who bet the price would fall closed positions amid signs of strong demand for pork and tight animal inventories. The approved sale of pork processing giant Smithfield Foods Inc. to Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd., based in China, also was supportive to futures.
October Hog gained 12 to 93.70, December hogs climbed 52 to 88.60
October live-cattle futures added 22 to $127, October Feeder fell 85 to $162 after corn and wheat, increased, making livestock feed more expensive.
Wheat futures surged 1.9% to close at their highest level in 15 weeks as freezing weather in Argentina may hurt production and delay planting, and on speculation that China and Brazil may be seeking wheat from global inventories. Corn and soybeans also gained.
December wheat in Chicago jumped 12 1/4 to $6.70, December KC wheat gained 13 ¼ to $7.18, November Soybeans rose 9 1/4 to $13.21, and December Corn gained 6 cents to $4.54.
Cotton futures ticked higher Wednesday, as the market continued to be supported by the lagging development of the U.S. crop. December new crop gained 27 to 84.65, and the March contract gained 13 to 84.42.
Gold futures rose Wednesday as investors worried that a potential impasse in U.S. budget talks would bolster demand for the metal. December gold rose $19.90 to $1,336.20, December silver closed at $21.88, up 30.00 cents
Oil futures declined to a nearly three-month low Wednesday, after a closely watched government report showed an unexpected jump in U.S. crude inventories as refiners cut their demand for oil.
November crude fell 47 cents to $102.66 a barrel, October gasoline gained 1.37 cents to $2.67 a gallon, and October distillates gained 1.21 cents, to $2.97 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures prices snapped a three-day losing streak Wednesday, inching up by the thinnest possible margin as traders positioned ahead of today’s release of gas inventory data and the expiry of the front-month contract. October natural gas gained a fraction to $3.49.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 fell for a fifth day on Wednesday, its longest losing streak since the end of 2012, on jitters funding for the federal government would run out and a drop in shares of Wal-Mart Stores. The Dow fell 61 to 15,273, the Nasdaq closed at 3,761, down 7 and the S&P 500 dropped 4 to 1,692.