Lean-hog futures rose on optimism for improved meat demand. Thinly-traded May hog futures picked up 1.32 cents, or 1.5%, to 88.12 cents a pound at the CME, a six-week high for the spot contract's close. Most-active June hog futures added 1.32 cents, or 1.5%, to 90.35 cents a pound.
Live-cattle futures finished higher Wednesday, supported by hopes that beef demand could pick up in coming weeks. April live-cattle futures gained 1.5 cents, or 1.2%, to $1.2687 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a nearly two-week high for the spot contract. Most-active June futures advanced 1.37 cents, or 1.1%, to $1.2182 a pound. Feeder-cattle futures were mixed. The April contract declined 0.42 cent, or 0.3%, to $1.3652 a pound.
At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 599 cattle and 15 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady to 3.50 lower; bulls were 50 cents to 4.00 lower. M&L 1-2 feeder steers, 400-600 lbs., trended 1.75 to 17.50 lower; heifers were mostly steady to 5.00 lower. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $74-$73. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold from $91-$95.50, with high dressing ranging $99.50-$102. M&L 1-2 feeder steers, 400-500 lbs., brought $135-$142, 500-600 lbs. were $120-$140.50. 400-500 lbs. M&L 1-2 feeder heifers ranged $124-$133.50 and 500-600 lbs. were $118-$126.
U.S. soybean futures rose to a nearly three-week high Wednesday on concerns about tight near-term supplies. But deferred soybean futures fell slightly as traders worried U.S. farmers might plant more soybeans than previously expected, boosting the size of this fall's harvest. Chicago Board of Trade May soybeans settled up 10 3/4 cents, or 0.8%, at $14.22 1/4 a bushel, the highest settlement since May 27. November soybeans fell 1/2 cent, or 0.04%, to $12.18 a bushel. Wheat futures were steady, as traders weighed concerns about freeze damage to crops in the Plains against rain benefiting crops there and expectations for ample world wheat supplies this year. May corn fell 2 3/4 cents, or 0.4%, to $6.60 1/2 a bushel. December corn rose 6 1/2 cents, or 1.2%, to $5.47 1/4 a bushel. CBOT May wheat rose 1/4 cent, or 0.04%, to $7.03 3/4 a bushel. KCBT May wheat rose 1/4 cent, or 0.03%, to $7.42 a bushel. MGEX May wheat fell 1 1/2 cents, or 0.2%, to $8.08 1/4 a bushel.
U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended mostly two to 13 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.01-$7.45 at feed mills and $6.76-$7.40 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended five to 11 cents higher and were $14.50 at processors, and $13.82-$14.22 at elevators. U.S. 2 soft red winter wheat trended steady to one cent lower, quoting $6.07 at the elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $457.30 per ton for 48% protein.
North Carolina’s egg prices trended steady on all sizes. Supplies are moderate. Retail demand is moderate. The North Carolina weighted average price for small lot sales of delivered, cartoned, grade “A” eggs was 115.94 for Extra Large, 109.73 for Large, 100.86 for Medium, and 78.00 for Small eggs.
Cotton futures rose Wednesday to their highest settlement in almost two weeks on Wednesday, after India's forecast for a doubling in cotton imports stemmed a two-day price slide. Cotton for delivery in July on ICE Futures U.S. rose 1.4% to 86.65 cents a pound, the highest active-month settlement since April 5.
Gold futures resumed their downward march Wednesday as pressure from a stronger dollar outweighed support from investors looking to re-enter the market after a record-setting plunge. The front-month gold contract, for April delivery, fell $4.60, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,382.20 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold for June delivery, the most active contract, fell $4.70, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,382.70. Silver for April delivery settled 1.4% lower at $23.301 a troy ounce, its lowest settlement price since October 2010, weighed by the dollar and data showing that European car sales slowed in March.
Oil futures extended their recent losses Wednesday, hitting their lowest level all year in the U.S., as investors focused on falling gasoline demand in a weekly report on domestic crude stockpiles. crude for May delivery settled $2.04, or 2.3%, lower at $86.68 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest finish yet this year. Front-month May reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, settled 5.28 cents, or 1.9%, lower at $2.7290 a gallon. May heating oil settled 7.19 cents, or 2.6%, lower at $2.7346 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures settled 1.3% higher Wednesday spurred by forecasts that temperatures in the central U.S. will be below normal through the end of April. May-delivery natural-gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 5.4 cents to settle at $4.214 per million British thermal units.
Stocks fell in a broad market selloff Wednesday, led by a sharp fall in Apple on worries about slowing demand while weaker-than-expected results from Bank of America pressured the financial sector. The Dow lost 138 points, to close at 14618. NASDAQ slipped almost 60 to 3204. The S&P 500 dropped to 1552, off 22.