Market Recap: Wheat Futures Lead Retreat in Grain Futures

Lean-hog futures finished lower as the dollar strengthened and traders looked for signs export demand will remain robust in the new year. February hog futures fell 35 to 85.17, April hog futures finished down 7 at 87.75.

U.S. live-cattle futures settled near flat Wednesday as traders weighed ample, near-term supplies against a rosier outlook as the calendar turns to 2012. February live Cattle rose 7 to $121, Futures for feeder cattle ended higher, with the January contract up 107 at $147.

US wheat futures led a retreat in grain futures, as traders took profits on recent gains. March wheat in Chicago ended down 7 at $6.50; March wheat in KC closed up 1 1/2 at $7.14.

US corn futures ended flat, stabilizing after prices rallied to multi-week highs of late. March corn ended unchanged at $6.58.

US soybean futures ended higher, fueled by traders maintaining risk premium in the market amid the uncertainties surrounding South American crop potential, Soy-product futures end mixed. March soy ended up 2 1/2 at $12.30, March soy meal ended up $1.40 at $320.60 while March soy oil dropped 8 to 53.03.

Cotton traded modestly higher, taking a breather from recent run ups on lack of news. March cotton gained 12 to close at $95.92, and the May contract gained 15 to close at $95.72

Gold futures rose for a third consecutive session on Wednesday, overcoming pressure from a stronger dollar as investors moved to the metal a safe-harbor from political tensions over a potential oil embargo targeting Iran. February gold rose $12.20 to t $1,612.70, February silver fell 47 to close at $29.05

U.S. oil futures inched higher Wednesday, but still reached their highest level since May 10 as traders remain anxious about continued tensions between Iran and the West. February crude gained 26 cents to $103.22 a barrel, February gasoline gained 3.66 cents, to $2.78 a gallon, and February distillates gained 5.17 cents to $3.08 a gallon.

Natural gas futures jumped more than 3% Wednesday, spurred by a blast of cold weather in the U.S. northeast and forecasts for colder temperatures later this month that will likely raise gas-fired heating demand. February Natural gas jumped 10.3 cents to $3.09.

On Wall Street, The blue chips posted modest gains, rising to the highest level since July, after encouraging sales data from U.S. automakers helped traders overcome worrying developments on Europe's debt crisis. The Dow gained 21 to close at 12,418, the Nasdaq closed at 2,648, off a fraction, and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 1,277. 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.