U.S. cattle futures trimmed losses to end narrowly lower Monday, pressured by profit-taking after concerns about extreme winter weather curbing production sent futures sharply higher last week.
December live-cattle futures fell 0.25 cent, to $1.31 a pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, after notching the highest settlement in nearly one month on Thursday. Live-cattle futures for February fell 0.87 cent, to $1.36a pound. Feeder-cattle futures for January declined 0.82 cent to $1.62 a pound.
Strengthening demand for cattle in the cash markets and severe snowstorms in the past week have sent cattle futures off multiyear lows, with prices climbing by the exchange-imposed daily limit on multiple days last week.
Hog futures, meanwhile, got a boost from a smaller-than-expected forecast for production next year.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week estimated the domestic supply of all hogs and pigs grew 1% from a year earlier as of Dec. 1, at 68.3 million head, which was slightly below analyst forecasts for about 68.7 million.
February lean-hogs advanced 0.82 cent, , to 59.12 cents a pound, after cent to 66.05 cents a pound.
U.S. corn, wheat and soybean futures settled lower in quiet post-holiday trade Monday, as weather and export trends offered little hope for improved pricing prospects for U.S. agricultural commodities.
Soybean futures posted the biggest decline, with January-dated contracts falling 1.2% to close at $8.65 a bushel. Forecasts of rain for dry Brazilian growing areas weighed on the contracts, along with signals that U.S. oilseed processors may slow their soybean intake due to slimmer profit margins.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated Monday that U.S. soybeans inspected for export for the 12-month period beginning Sept. 1 are running about 11.4% below last year’s level, while slackened demand for soybean-based products has eroded profit margins for U.S. oilseed processors.
Monday’s session was the fifth consecutive trading day of declines for soybeans at the Chicago Board of Trade. The weeklong slide largely erased gains made in mid-December as the weather outlook soured for Brazil, and the U.S. dollar declined in value relative to other world currencies.
Corn futures settled 1% lower at $3.61 a bushel, as some analysts raised questions around ethanol makers’ continued ability to churn out large quantities of the corn-based fuel additive at shrinking margins as crude oil’s slide compresses the per-gallon price of gasoline.
Wheat futures closed slightly lower, down one cent at $4.66 1/2 a bushel. Continued concerns over the competitiveness of U.S. wheat on global markets outpaced price gains in the market earlier Monday, which came amid concerns that a massive winter storm may have left portions of the U.S. winter wheat crop with flood damage.
The U.S. dollar strengthened Monday, curbing any momentum in wheat prices.
Stocks are closing lower, led by declines in energy and mining companies as prices for oil and other commodities fall.
Chevron fell 1.8 percent Monday, the most in the Dow Jones industrial average.
Mining company Freeport-McMoRan sank 10 percent after announcing that its co-founder was leaving.
The Dow average lost 23 points, or 0.1 percent, to close at 17,528.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell four points, or 0.2 percent, to 2,056. The Nasdaq composite declined seven points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,040.
The price of crude oil fell 3 percent and copper fell 2 percent.
Bond prices rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.22 percent.