Market Recap: Livestock & Grains Go Into Holiday Break on High Note

U.S. livestock futures finished mostly higher Tuesday, lifted by expectations for tighter supplies ahead as floor trading ended early before a break for the July 4th holiday.

Lean-hog futures finished mostly higher, lifted by expectations that supplies will be tighter than traders feared earlier this year. August hogs, the most actively traded, closed down 2 to 94.87, and the December contract gained 55 to 81.00
August cattle futures closed up 20 at $119. Feeder cattle were big exception to Tuesday's gains, falling sharply again as corn futures spiked. August feeder cattle closed down 225 at $147.

U.S. grain and soybean futures surged Tuesday, fueled by concerns stressful U.S. Midwest heat and dryness are robbing corn and soybean crop's yield potential. Traders continue to factor in the risk of yield losses, as the hot, dry weather forecasts for the Midwest are seen as a detriment to yield potential.

July corn futures rallied to nearly 10-month highs and July soybeans surged to their highest level since July 2008 on continuation charts. July corn climbed 26 1/4 to $7.18, and July soybeans rose 40 to $15.72.

Separately, wheat futures followed the lead of corn, with the possibility of dry weather conditions threatening crops in the Black Sea area, northern China and Australia, adding strength. Higher corn prices could increase demand for wheat to replace corn in animal feed. September wheat in Chicago rose 26 3/4 to $7.99, and September wheat in KC wheat climbed 25 1/2 to $8.02.

Cotton advanced alongside other agricultural commodities on worries that sweltering weather across the US could damage crops. December cotton rose 58 to t 72.60, and near month July gained 60 to 72.75.

Gold and other precious metals climbed Tuesday, as traders bet that weak economic data pointed to further stimulus from world central banks. August gold rose $24.10 to $1,621.80, and September silver closed at $28.28, up 78.1 cents

Oil futures rose Tuesday on revived tensions over the Iranian nuclear program and renewed speculation that central banks will be forced to add more stimulus to the global economy. August crude settled at $87.66 a barrel, Front-month gasoline settled at $2.72 gallon, up 9.9 cents, and Front-month distillates settled at $2.75 a gallon, up 8.3 cents.

Natural gas futures settled at a fresh six-month high Tuesday after breaking above a key technical indicator in light pre-holiday trading. August Natural gas gained 7.5 cents to $2.89.

On Wall Street, stocks extended a rally for a third day on Tuesday as sharp gains in oil prices lifted energy shares and traders factored in increased expectations for central bank stimulus. The Dow gained 72 to close at 12,943, the Nasdaq closed at 2,976, up 24, and the S&P 500 gained 8 to close at 1,374. 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.