Market Recap: Sluggish Beef Demand Weighs Down Cattle Futures

U.S. lean-hog futures finished mixed, with gains from a smaller supply view of slaughter-ready hogs offset by continued weakness in pork prices. Thinly-traded February hog futures added 22 to 87.47, April hogs, the most-actively traded contract, fell 2 to 85.80.

U.S. live-cattle futures settled lower Wednesday, weighed down by continued sluggishness in beef demand. February Live cattle fell 55 to $125, April cattle, the most actively traded contract, dropped 55 to $129, and March feeder-cattle fell 19 to $141.

At the livestock auction held Tuesday in Mount Airy a total of 392 cattle and 24 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended 50 cents to 3.00 higher; bulls were 1.00 to 3.50 higher. M&L 1-2 feeder steers, 400-600 lbs., trended mostly 3.00 to 7.00 lower, heifers were mostly 5.50 to 11.00 lower.

At the Mid Atlantic Cattle video auction on Wednesday, February 13, an estimated 986 cattle were sold. All lots are current delivery. Steers: M&L 1-2 625 lbs. $136 (split loads); 782 lbs. $133.58; 867 lbs. $127.12; 924 lbs. $126.50. Heifers: M&L 1-2 650 lbs. $130 (split loads); 739 lbs. $127.51; 820 lbs. $125.

U.S. grain and soybean futures finished mixed Wednesday, with futures closing off earlier lows, as the markets gained some stability after stumbling over the past week. Wheat futures closed higher, fueled by sentiment that the market's recent selloff was overdone. Soybean futures settled higher, climbing on technically based buying and lingering worries about tight U.S. supplies.

March corn ended down ¾ to $6.95, March wheat in Chicago ended down 3 1/2 at $7.35, Kansas City Board of Trade March wheat rose 2 1/4 to $7.80, March soybeans finished up 2 1/4 at $14.23.

U.S. 2 yellow shelled corn trended steady to one cent lower when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.15-$7.71 at feed mills and $7.11-$7.75 at elevators. U.S. 1 yellow soybeans trended mostly two to three cents higher and were $14.33 at processors, and $13.58-$14.03 at elevators. New crop U.S. 2 soft red winter wheat was $6.37-$7.33. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants was $453.10 per ton for 48% protein.

Cotton futures fell Wednesday morning as buying continued to be scarce while Asia celebrated the Lunar New Year holiday. March cotton fell 17 to $80.07, and the May contract fell 8 to $82.21.

Gold futures retreated as the euro lost its footing against the dollar, and nudged gold traders toward the exit. April gold fell $4.50 to $1,645.10, April silver fell 14 to $30.91.

Crude-oil futures edged lower Wednesday after a closely watched industry forecast cut estimates for global crude demand in 2013. The Paris-based energy watchdog International Energy Administration projected that 2013 global oil consumption would grow by 840,000 barrels a day, or 90,000 barrels a day less than the group's estimate last month. The group pegs global consumption at 90.7 million barrels a day. March crude fell 50 cents, to $97.01 a barrel, March gasoline fell 1.49 cents to $3.03 a gallon, and March distillates fell 1.74 cents to $3.21 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures climbed Wednesday to a one-week high after updated forecasts called for a chillier second half of February than had been expected. March natural-gas gained 7.6 cents to $3.30.

On Wall Street, stocks drifted in light volume on Wednesday, ending little changed, as investors remained cautious after the S&P 500 index briefly hit its highest intraday level since November 2007. The Dow fell 35 to 13,982, the Nasdaq closed at 3,196, up 10 and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 1,520. 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.