Lean hog futures bucked the day's trends, closing higher, with a fourth straight day of gains, lifted by stable pork prices and moves by traders to cover short positions. June hog futures rose 82 to 87.17, July hog futures climbed 32 to 88.00.
U.S. live cattle futures on Wednesday fell victim to sharp losses in other commodity markets and in the stock market, despite signs of firm beef demand. June live cattle dropped 14 to finish the day at $116 August feeder contracts finished down 150 at $156.
U.S. soybean futures closed lower Wednesday, pressured by macroeconomic worries and forecasts for rain in the U.S. Soybeans still have a tight supply-demand outlook, but outside markets and technically driven profit-taking pushed down prices, traders said. July soybeans ended down 13 1/2 at $13.73.
Separately, corn futures ended mixed, as the day's macroeconomic worries limited gains from a lower health rating for the U.S. corn crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in a weekly report Tuesday afternoon, said 72% of the corn crop was in good or excellent condition, down five percentage points from a week ago. July corn fell 3 to $5.59.
Wheat futures ended mostly down, pressured by generally favorable conditions for U.S. crops, and by reports of fair yields as the U.S. winter-wheat harvest begins. July wheat in Chicago fell 3 to $6.53, July wheat in KC rose 1 to $6.79.
Cotton retreated to its lowest front-month settlement since Feb 2010 as plantings of the fiber in the U.S. surge ahead and a stronger dollar weighed on futures. July cotton fell 189 to 70.91, and the October contract dropped 112 to 71.59.
Gold futures ended higher Wednesday as investors flocked to the market after prices touched a fresh 2012 low during the session. August gold gained $14.70 to $1,565.70 an ounce and July silver fell 26 to close at 27.53.
Oil futures fell more than 3% to finish at their lowest level in seven months as Spain's intensifying banking crisis prompted fresh worries about the future of the euro zone. July crude plunged $2.94 to $87.82 a barrel, June gasoline fell 4.83 cents to $2.85 a gallon, and June distillates fell 6.9 cents to $2.73 a gallon.
Natural gas futures dropped Wednesday, falling for the fourth straight session–as traders and analysts fear higher prices have prompted utilities to switch from the fuel to coal. July Natural gas fell 6.7 cents to $2.41.
On Wall Street, stocks fell more than 1 percent as mounting fears about the euro zone prompted investors to sell sectors tied to economic growth. The Dow lost 160 to close at 12,419, the Nasdaq closed at 2,837, down 33, and the S&P 500 lost 19 to close at 1,313