Lean hog futures closed lower as very weak wholesale pork prices added to pressure from declines in grains futures for later this year. May hog futures fell 32 to 86.60, June hog futures fell 15 to 87.42.
U.S. live cattle futures finished mostly lower on Thursday as fresh concerns about the discovery of mad-cow disease in the U.S. earlier this week erased gains earlier in the session. April Live Cattle fell 42 to $118, May feeders dropped 2 to $148.
Nearby US corn and wheat futures closed higher, with front-month soybeans settling at a fresh 3 1/2-year high. Support for nearby corn and soybeans came from the Buenos Aires Cereals Exchange trimming its forecast for Argentina's soybean and corn harvests by 1 million metric tons each. Deferred corn fell due to expectations for a large US crop this year, and deferred soybeans also fell. May soybeans gained 7 3/4 to $14.81, May soy meal rose $5.70 to $419.60, and May soy oil fell 28 to 55.37. May corn jumped 13 to $6.24. May wheat in Chicago gained 9 1/2 to $6.26, May wheat in KC gained 7 ¼ to $6.39.
Cotton futures gained after big US export sales data demonstrated renewed demand and the prospect of tightening domestic supplies. May cotton gained 1.42 to 90.31; July closed up 1.31 at 92.11.
Gold futures popped to the highest level in two weeks Thursday, as investors bet that the Federal Reserve's steady hand on its current slate of monetary policies would support prices for the precious metal. June gold rose $18.20 to $1,660.50, and May silver closed at $31.20, up 85.1 cents.
U.S. crude futures rose Thursday, helped by gains in stock markets and fuel products that pushed oil to the highest settlement in three weeks. June crude gained 43 cents to $104.55 a barrel, May gasoline gained 2.76 cents to $3.18 a gallon, and May distillates gained 3.33 cents to $3.19 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures ended a volatile session lower Thursday, following a government report that revised a month's worth of U.S. natural-gas inventory data. May Natural gas fell 3.2 cents to expire at $2.03.
On Wall Street, U.S. stocks rose for a third day on Thursday after upbeat housing data and stronger-than-expected results from companies, including Citrix Systems Inc , overshadowed some high-profile earnings misses. The Dow gained 113 to close at 13,204, the Nasdaq closed at 3,050, up almost 21 and the S&P 500 gained 9 ¼ to close at 1,399.