U.S. livestock futures finished with a jumble of results on Thursday as a lift from technical moves by traders mostly offset building fears that meat demand will slow sharply after the spring grilling season. Lean hog futures mostly dodged the potential for deep losses after wholesale markets for hog and pork pointed a quick slowing in demand.
June hog fell for the fourth-straight day even as other contracts were mostly higher. June lean hogs fell 22 to 84.20, July hogs gained 47 to 86.02
Cattle futures finished the day a tick higher after trading during the session swung the complex between modest losses and gains. June live cattle gained 7 to $117, May feeder cattle expired during the session close to unchanged at $152.
US corn futures stumbled, closing at 5-month lows. Slower US corn sales and expectations for record 2012 US crops attracted sellers to the market. Meanwhile, soybeans and wheat managed to stabilize, supported by solid export demand and lingering crop weather concerns. However, weakness in corn did drag wheat lower at the close. July corn closed down 25 to $5.78, July soy ended up 14 to $13.76, July wheat in Chicago finished down 2 1/2at $6.63, and July wheat in KC gained ½ to close at $6.87.
USDA's cotton export sales report shows demand is popping on recent price dives, a trend poised to continue as prices unraveled to a more than 27-month low this week. July cotton rose 243 to 73.94 while December cotton gained 192 to 70.67.
Gold futures gained for the first time this week on Thursday, as a brief pause in the dollar's upward march spurred some investors who had bet on lower prices for the precious metal to close out those bets. June gold rose $9.10 to $1,557.50 an ounce, and July silver closed at $28.15, up 63.8 cents.
U.S. crude-oil futures inched higher to move back above the psychologically significant $90-a-barrel barrier Thursday as some traders said the market is at a crossroads following the steep selloff so far this month. July crude gained 76 cents to $90.66 a barrel
Natural gas futures advanced Wednesday ahead of a government survey expected to show a relatively modest addition to gas inventories, as demand from power plants remains elevated. June Natural gas 3 cents to $2.73.
On Wall Street, stocks ended slightly higher in a third session marked by late-day swings, but the Nasdaq fell after NetApp gave a weak revenue forecast, casting doubt on the outlook for tech spending. The Dow gained 33 to close at 12,529, the Nasdaq closed at 2,839, down 10 and the S&P 500 gained 1 at 1,320.