U.S. lean-hog futures finished just below unchanged Wednesday, stabilizing on the heels of steady cash trade and sentiment that a recent slide in prices could be overdone. After sinking at the start of the trading session, most-active April futures finished flat with Tuesday's close at 79.25, June hogs fell 1 to 89.45
U.S. live-cattle futures closed lower Wednesday as traders digested news of weaker-than-expected cash cattle trade the market remained under pressure from negative technical factors. April Live cattle fell 82 to $1.288, June live-cattle futures shed 52 to $123.
At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 578 cattle and 53 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mostly steady to 4.00 higher; bulls were mixed, 3.00 lower to 3.00 higher. M&L 1-2 feeder steers, 400-600 lbs., were not established; heifers were mixed, 9.75 lower to 3.00 higher. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $76.50-$89.50, with high dressing up to $93. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold from $88-$102, with high dressing ranging $103.50-$106.
At the monthly load lot sales held at Southeast Livestock Exchange and Mid-Atlantic Cattle Sales March 05-06, an estimated 4,415 cattle were sold. Steers: (current delivery) M&L 1-2 475 lbs $180.25 (Apr), 563 lbs $151.67, 646 lbs $148.59, 650 lbs $134 (split loads), 756 lbs $134.61, 753 lbs $129.59 (split loads), 851 lbs $127.44, 950 lbs $122.85. Heifers: (current delivery) M&L 1-2 460 lbs $155.70 (Apr), 555 lbs $143.28, 625 lbs $128 (split loads), 743 lbs $123.72, 730 lbs $125.13 (split loads), 824 lbs $117.50.
U.S. wheat futures settled at a fresh eight-month low Wednesday, pressured by wet weather for U.S. crops and continued concerns about weak export demand for wheat. Corn futures were pulled lower Wednesday by the decline in wheat, wet weather in the Midwest and positioning ahead of the USDA report. Soybeans were mixed, with nearby futures pressured by profit-taking after recent gains.
March wheat in Chicago fell 20 to $6.76, and March wheat in KC fell 6 ¾ to $7.29, March corn futures fell 24 to $7.08 and March soybean fell 12 to $14.84.
U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 20 to 24 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $6.88-$7.74 at feed mills and $7.19-$7.88 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended mostly steady to 12 cents lower and were $14.96 at processors, and $14.24-$14.65 at elevators. New crop U.S. 2 soft red winter wheat was $6.05-$7.36. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $480.30 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton futures edged to a fresh 10-month high Wednesday as speculative investors continued to bid the market up ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly supply/demand report, due Friday. May cotton gained 3 to 87.24, and December new crop gained 57 to 86.31.
Gold futures were flat Wednesday, capping a third session of mostly sideways trading after a set of mixed readings on the U.S. economy left investors reluctant to place large bets on the metal. April gold settled unchanged at $1,574.90, and May silver closed at $28.80, up 19.9 cents.
Natural gas futures declined Wednesday, giving back much of the week's gains as investors expect the onset of spring to begin curbing demand for gas used for heating. April Natural gas fell 5.9 cents to $3.47.
Crude-oil futures settled slightly lower Wednesday after a larger-than-expected rise in U.S. inventories stirred concerns about demand. April crude-oil futures fell 39 cents to $90.43 a barrel, April gasoline dropped 2.35 cents to $3.12 a gallon, and April distillates gained a fraction to $2.97 a gallon.
On Wall Street, the Dow hit another intraday record high on Wednesday on signs of improvement in the U.S. labor market, but the broader market was little changed as investors became cautious that the rally may soon run its course. The Dow gained 42 to close at 14,296, the Nasdaq closed at 3,222, down 1 and the S&P 500 gained 1 to 1,541.