Row Crop Futures Stumble

Livestock futures traded sideways on Monday.

Prices for hogs and cattle fell last week as traders faced a plentiful supply outlook in the coming months. But futures markets were mixed on Monday, steadying as bargain-hunting traders took advantage of discounted prices. Falling physical hog prices have burdened the swine market. Cash prices dropped almost 10% from a late October peak, and market observers expected them to slide further on Monday.

December lean hogs fell 17 to 62.30, February gained 5 to 70.30. Later months were mixed.

The cattle market was also under some pressure. Cattle futures tumbled last week after cash prices came in below expectations. December live cattle closed unchanged at $120, February lost 35 to close at $126, and November feeders gained 22 to $158.  Later months fell.

Grain and soybean futures started the week lower, pressured by moves in other markets. The U.S. dollar rose, at the same time the currencies of the other major exporters weakened, exacerbating the disadvantage to U.S. producers.

Soybeans led losses, falling to the lowest close in over a month. The large net short positions in grain markets limited the potential for further losses, analysts said, increasing the likelihood of a snap higher if supply threats or demand boons prompted funds to get out of their positions.  For now, there were few such prospects on the horizon.

January soybeans dropped 13 3/4  to $9.74, December corn fell 1 ¼  to $3.42, December Chicago wheat slid 7 ¼  to $4.24, and December KC wheat fell 5 ¾ to $4.27.

Cotton futures followed other row-crop commodities lower with the December contract dropping 17 to 68.88, and March falling 21 to 68.93.

Oil futures were mixed Monday after major oil producers said their output fell last month.

December crude futures rose 2 cents to $56.76 a barrel, Gasoline futures fell 1.95 cent to $1.79 a gallon, and Diesel futures fell a fraction to $1.93 a gallon.

Natural-gas prices fell Monday as forecasts of cold weather moderated, and investors took profits following a seven-day rally.

Natural gas for December delivery settled down 4.6 cents, or 1.43%, to $3.16

On Wall Street, stock indexes rose on Monday as a sharp drop in General Electric shares was more than offset by gains in high dividend-paying sectors including consumer staples and utilities.  The Dow gained 17 to 23,439, the Nasdaq closed at 6,757, up 6 and the S&P 500 gained 2 to 2,584.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.