Market Recap: Hogs Continue to Slide
U.S. lean hog futures continued their troubled spring on Wednesday as sliding pork prices, during a time of year when they typically rise, continue to crash the complex. May hog futures closed down 255 at 87.25, the June contract fell 242 to close at $87.35.
U.S. live cattle futures faced some steep losses on Wednesday, pressured by spiraling pork prices and spill-over from declines in outside markets. April live cattle closed off 132 at $120, April feeder cattle futures finished up 5 at $151.
US grain and soy futures closed down, with corn leading losses as traders worry the fast pace of current planting will lead to an early harvest. Nearby corn was hit hardest while deferred futures resisted strong losses as funds appeared to liquidate spread positions that had bet on greater price gains in May or July corn than December. Corn futures have struggled since the USDA last week surprisingly left its domestic stockpile projection unchanged. May corn ended down 15 at $6.01 while May wheat in Chicago slid 4 3/4 to $6.10, May wheat in KC dropped 6 to close at $6.26 and May soybeans fell 18 to $14.07, pushing meal and oil down.
ICE cotton futures spouted gains as short-covering and an estimate from India's government that second-largest grower will export a record amount of the fiber. May-delivery cotton jumped 250 to 91.93, while cotton for July increased 177 to 90.02.
Gold futures gave up the previous day's gains Wednesday amid a weaker tone to equity markets and as investor attention turned to the upcoming government debt sale in Spain. June gold fell $11.50 to $1,639.60 an ounce, May silver fell 18.7 cents to $31.48.
Crude oil futures settled weaker Wednesday after U.S. inventories rose more than expected, crude oil for May crude fell $1.53 at $102.67 a barrel, May gasoline dropped 3.13 cents to $3.20 a gallon, May distillates fell a fraction to $3.11.
Natural gas futures ended unchanged at a 10-year low Wednesday as traders await a closely watched government report on U.S. inventories. Natural gas for May delivery settled at $1.95.
On Wall Street, stocks declined on Wednesday after uninspiring earnings from IBM and Intel, while Chesapeake Energy sank after a Reuters report highlighted that its CEO has taken out large and unusual personal loans. The Dow fell 82 to close at 13,032, the Nasdaq closed at 3,031, down 11 and the S&P 500 lost 5 to finish the day at 1,385.