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Market Recap: Hog Futures Gain in Potential Weather Problems

U.S. lean-hog futures Wednesday rallied on expectations for heavy snowfall in "hog country," which could bring transportation delays for pork production, pinching supplies in the near-term. February lean hogs gained 13 to 86.57, April hogs gained 117 to 91.45.

U.S. live-cattle futures hit a nine-month high Wednesday, amid expectations that winter storms in the central U.S. may pinch the beef-industry supply chain in the near term and further tighten inventories. Feeder cattle also rose. December live-cattle rose 125 to $129, January feeders added 127 to $153.

At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 401 cattle and 44 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended 50 cents to 7.00 higher; bulls were 2.00 to 4.50 higher.

US grain and soy futures settled lower, pressured by technical selling. Corn broke below the low end of its recent trading range, sparking a wave of selling, and traders were still concerned about weak demand for physical corn. Soybeans fall on technical signals and a lack of fresh demand. Wheat was up in the morning on export sales to Egypt, but it turned negative on pressure from corn and soybeans. March corn fell 17 at $7.03, January soybeans fell 29 at $14.37. March wheat in Chicago dropped 5 1/2 to $8.05, and March wheat in KC 2 ½ $8.58.

No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 17 to 18 cents lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $6.93-$7.73 at feed mills and $7.28-$7.33 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended mostly 29 cents lower and were $14.11 at processors, and $13.57-$13.97 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was not established. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $491.50 per ton for 48% protein.

Fruit and vegetable prices (shipping point f.o.b.): Cabbage: Demand moderate. Market about steady. 50 pound cartons Round Green Type medium $7-$7.50 occasional $8.

Cotton futures held steady for a third consecutive session as traders squared up their positions before the holidays. March cotton fell 6 to 75.89, and the May contract dropped 11 to 76.62.

Gold futures eased, settling near a three-month low, as investors looked for progress in U.S. budget talks and took stock of gold's recent drop. February gold fell $3 to $1,667.70, February silver fell 52 cents to $31.13.

U.S. crude-oil futures rose Wednesday to a two-month high after government data showed a jump in demand for diesel and heating oil. January crude gained $1.58 to$89.51 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 5.22 cents to $2.74 a gallon, distillate futures rose to $3.03 a gallon.

Natural gas futures Wednesday resumed their downward tilt of recent days, falling ahead of a weekly inventory report that is expected to be bearish. Natural gas futures settled at $3.32.

On Wall Street, stocks sold off late in the day to close at session lows on Wednesday as talks to avert a year-end fiscal crisis turned sour, even as investors still expect a deal. The Dow fell 98 to 13,251, the Nasdaq fell 10 to 3,044, and the S&P 500 fell almost 11 to 1,435. 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.