A winter storm moving rapidly across the Great Plains into the Midwest helped drive futures prices for livestock and meat sharply higher Monday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
On other markets, energy futures fell dramatically; lumber futures surged higher; gold retreated from seven-year highs while silver gained; grain and soybean futures were mixed, and stock index futures were higher.
The storm dumped 12 inches of snow in some parts of the Texas Panhandle and made it hard for cattle and hog producers to get their animals to packing plants, said Charlie Richardson, an analyst with Lind-Waldock & Co. in Denver.
"This is expected to limit the number of cattle available for sale for a short period of time," he said.
Livestock prices also advanced on expectations that slaughter-ready animals would lose some weight because of the snow delay, Richardson said.
He said traders also expect today's seven-state cattle-on-feed report from the Agriculture Department to show lower numbers of cattle being readied for slaughter than a year ago, another bullish factor for cattle futures.
Live cattle closed 0.45 cents to 1.35 cents higher, with the contract for delivery in December at 65.42 cents a pound; feeder cattle were 0.35 cent to 0.60 cent higher, with January at 75.45 cents a pound; live hogs were 0.48 cent to 1.30 cents higher, with December at 43.80 cents a pound, and frozen pork bellies were 0.15 cent lower to 0.65 cent higher, with February at 52.42 cents a pound.
Energy futures dropped sharply on the New York Mercantile Exchange, reflecting disappointment over the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' inability to reach agreement on prices and production quotas, analysts said.
"It was always a matter of time before Iran and Iraq were at each other's throats in the OPEC meetings as well as in the real world,"' said Peter Beutel, an analyst with Elders Futures Inc. in New York.
Meeting Monday in Vienna for the sixth day, oil ministers of all 13 OPEC nations except Iraq indicated that they would sign a price and production pact. Iraq opted out after being refused its demand for production parity with Iran.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil settled 87 cents to 92 cents lower, with January at $17.44 a barrel; heating oil was 1.57 cents to 1.90 cents lower, with January at 53.36 cents a gallon, and unleaded gasoline was 1.74 cents to 1.93 cents lower, with January at 45.05 cents a gallon.
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