Market Recap: Grains & Oilseeds Square Positions Ahead of USDA Reports

U.S. lean hog futures finished mostly lower as traders weighed higher pork prices against still-choppy prices in cash hog markets. February hog futures rose 1 to 86.27, April hog futures fell 15 to 88.95.

U.S. live cattle futures closed mixed Wednesday as prices reflected steadily rebounding beef values and technical moves by investors. February live Cattle rose 42 to $125, March feeder cattle rose — to $155

US wheat futures ended mostly lower, as traders consolidated positions ahead of today's USDA reports. March wheat in Chicago ended down 1 1/2 to $6.60 and March wheat in KC ended down 2 to $7.10.

US corn futures ended mixed as traders consolidate positions ahead of today's USDA report. March corn ended up 1/4 to $6.42.

US soybean futures ended slightly lower as traders consolidated positions ahead of the USDA crop reports, Soy product futures ended mixed. March soybeans ended down 1/2 at $12.31, March soy oil ended up 0.41 to 52.58, and March soy meal ended down $3.70 at $321.70.

Rains in southern Texas could lead some cotton farmers in the drought-ravaged state to switch to crops, such as corn and soybeans, says independent cotton analyst Mike Stevens. "Some farmers (could) switch to grain because they'll actually have a crop." Cotton farmers in dry areas, however, are expected to continue planting because if nothing sprouts, they could collect on insurance. March cotton fell 95 to 93.62, and the May contract fell 88 to close at $95.18.

Gold futures finished lower Wednesday, giving up much of the previous day's gains as worries about further delays in Greece weighed on investor confidence. April gold fell $17.10 to $1,731.30, and April silver fell 51 to $33.73.

Crude-oil futures finished slightly higher Wednesday after a government report showed U.S. crude-oil stockpiles rose less than expected last week, although oil demand overall was weak. March crude gained 30 cents to $98.71 a barrel, March gasoline gained 4.77 cents to $2.96 a gallon, and March distillates fell a fraction to $3.18 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures ended lower Wednesday after trading near flat for most of the session, as investors await a weekly report on U.S. gas stockpiles that is expected to show only a modest inventory decline. March Natural gas fell 2.4 cents to $2.44.

On Wall Street, stocks zigzagged between positive and negative territory, with the positive winning…barely, as traders remained wary of talking a big bets with debt talks in Greece dragging on for another day. The Dow gained 5 to closed t 12,883, the Nasdaq gained 11 to close at 2,915, and the S &P 500 gained almost 3 to close at 1,349. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.