U.S. cattle futures finished lower Tuesday, with many contracts hitting multimonth lows, as a soft beef market and poor feedlot margins weigh on livestock demand. feeder cattle futures fell by as much as 300 points, the daily trading limit, before trimming losses. March feeder cattle ended down 155 at $143, Front-month feeder cattle prices are at their lowest level since late August. February live cattle closed down a fraction at $126 after hitting a fresh 3 1/2-week low, while other contracts set new 7 1/2-month lows.
CME lean hogs, meanwhile, were mostly lower amid weaker pork prices and a soft cash-hogs market. February lean hogs gained 35 to 87.25, April hogs finished down 37 to 86.00
At the 3 livestock auctions held Monday at Canton, Turnersburg and Siler City a total of 1169 cattle and 14 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended $2.00 to $13.00 lower, feeder steers trended $2.00 to $18.00 lower, and heifers trended mixed when compared to last week’s sales. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $59.00 to $86.00. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $89.00 to $99.50 with high dressing up to $109.00.
U.S. wheat futures fell to a seven-month low Tuesday as rain and snow eased drought conditions in the southern Plains.
The wet weather combined with concerns about weak export demand to push prices lower, as speculative traders likely added to their bets on lower prices, traders said. Corn and soybean futures also fell amid negative technical signals and general pessimism about agricultural commodities. Corn was pressured by concerns about weak demand and expectations for a large U.S. harvest later this year to replenish supplies, which are tight after last year's drought. Soybean futures fell on expectations for large U.S. crops this fall.
March Wheat in Chicago fell 9 1/2 to $7.32, March wheat in KC fell 10 3/4 to $7.78, March corn fell 6 to $6.96, and March soybean futures fell 10 3/4 to $14.20.
N.C. EGGS: The market is lower on all sizes. Supplies are heavy. Retail demand is light. Weighted average prices for small lot sales of grade A eggs delivered to nearby retail outlets: Extra Large 137.78, Large 135.59, Medium 100.64, and Small 83.00.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 6 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.16-$7.71 at feed mills and $7.11-$7.76 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 11 cents lower and were $14.30 at processors, and $13.60-$14.01 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $455.30 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton futures eased Tuesday morning as buying waned due to the Chinese New Year holiday. March cotton fell 101 to 81.91, and the May contract lost 97 to 82.95.
Gold futures settled flat Tuesday, paring earlier losses, as volatile trading in the Japanese yen and continued strength in the euro drew investors to purchase an alternative to paper money. April Gold added 50 cents to $1,649.60, and April silver gained 96 cents to $31.05
Crude oil futures prices crept up Tuesday and hit a one-week high, prodded by the dollar's decline. March crude gained 48 cents to $97.51 a barrel, March gasoline gained 2.91 cents to $3.05 a gallon, and March distillates gained a fraction to $3.23 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures fell Tuesday as temperature forecasts offered mixed signals about gas-fired heating demand. March Natural gas fell 4.9 cents to $3.23.
On Wall Street, stocks edged higher on Tuesday, putting the Dow within striking distance of all-time highs as investors looked ahead to President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, which is expected to focus on the economy. The Dow gained 47 to 14,018, the Nasdaq closed t 3,186, down 5 and the S&P 500 gained 2 to 1,519.