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Market Recap: Hog Futures Finish Sharply Lower

U.S. lean-hog futures finished sharply lower, pressured by declines in wholesale pork prices and expectations that larger hog supplies may soon be headed to slaughter. February lean hogs shed 142 to 86.90, April hogs, the most-actively traded contract, fell 145 to 86.25

U.S. live-cattle futures finished lower Wednesday, pressured by weaker outside markets and low buying interest until this week's cash trading starts. Feeder-cattle futures also fell.

February Live cattle fell 35 to $127, April live cattle, the most actively traded contract, dropped 85 to $131. March feeder cattle slid 97 to $147.

At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 560 cattle and 43 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended 4.50 to 5.50 higher; bulls were 7.50 to 9.00 higher.

U.S. corn and soybean settled lower Wednesday, pressured by a wetter weather forecast for Argentina, where dry weather in the last few weeks has started to threaten crops. Weather outlooks turned wetter for Argentina in the period 10 days from now, predicting likely rain around Feb. 16-20. Such long-term forecasts often change, but the increased possibility of rain still led some market participants to exit earlier bets on higher prices by selling futures. Corn was also pressured by concerns about weak demand. A weekly ethanol production report on Wednesday showed U.S. output remains low. Wheat futures rose on Wednesday, boosted by short-covering and bargain-hunting activity after prices fell over the last week.

March corn fell 6 1/2 to $7.22, March soybeans dropped 8 to $14.87, March wheat in Chicago rose 4 to $7.61, and March wheat in KC rose 2 1/2 to $8.09.

U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended six to seven cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.42-$7.98 at feed mills and $7.38-$8.02 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended mostly eight cents lower and were $14.97 at processors, and $14.27-$14.68 at elevators. New crop U.S. 2 soft red winter wheat was $6.71-$7.64. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $482.10 per ton for 48% protein.

North Carolina’s egg prices trended lower on all sizes. Supplies are heavy. Retail demand is very light. The North Carolina weighted average price for small lot sales of delivered, cartoned, grade “A” eggs was 154.20 for Extra Large, 153.42 for Large, 114.95 for Medium, and 88.00 for Small eggs.

Cotton futures bucked the trend Wednesday, ending higher on expectations that the USDA would lower its production forecast for U.S. cotton output this season due to extremely dry weather in big growing states like Texas. The U.S. is the world's top cotton exporter. The March contract gained 21 to 81.72, and the May contract gained 9 to 82.55.

U.S. crude-oil futures settled nearly where they began Wednesday after bright spots in weekly oil-stockpiles data confronted a stronger U.S. dollar. March crude oil for fell 2 cents to $96.62 a barrel, March gasoline gained a fraction to $3.03 a gallon, and March fell a fraction to $3.18 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures climbed for a third day Wednesday on forecasts for colder temperatures in coming weeks. March nat gas rose 1.9 cents to $3.41.

On Wall Street, stocks drifted lower on Wednesday as investors pulled back after the recent push to five-year highs on the S&P and as worries about political problems in Europe weighed on sentiment. The Dow gained 7 to 13,986, the Nasdaq closed at 3,168, down 3 and the S&P 500 fell a fraction to 1,512. 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.