A sharp rally in lean-hog futures accelerated Thursday as further signs of firm pork demand in the wake of Memorial Day sparked some heady gains. June hog futures approached their 3-cent exchange-imposed limit, gained 262 to 89.80, the July contract did close limit up at 91.00.
Live-cattle futures moved higher, lifted by the combination of a rally in hog futures and further gains in wholesale-beef prices. June live cattle closed up 65 to $117, August feeder cattle finished 72 to $156.
US grain and soybean futures ended lower, fueled by macroeconomic worries promoting a risk-off trading environment. Soybean futures led the declines, dropping Thursday as investment funds trimmed length. The absence of fresh export news and beneficial crop rains across parts of the Midwest gave traders little incentive to buy in the face of global economic concerns, analysts say. July soy fell 33 1/4 to $13.40, July corn shed 4 1/4 to $5.55, July wheat in Chicago dropped 10 to $6.43, and July wheat in KC fell 14 to $6.65.
Cotton ticked higher in a tight range within Wednesday's price action as outside markets improved. The consolidation trading comes as investors take stock of the recent tumble in the market--futures plunged 20% in May, pressured by a glut of supply on the global market, beneficial rains in US planting areas and weakening demand thanks to the economic turmoil in Europe. July cotton gained 64 to 71.55, and the October contract fell 8 to close at 71.51.
Gold futures edged lower Thursday as investors weighed weaker manufacturing data against the weaker dollar. August gold fell $1.50 to $1,564.20 an ounce, and July silver gained 10 cents to $27.89.
Crude futures fell Thursday to fresh seven-month lows as data showing a weaker U.S. economy and rising domestic oil stockpiles added to worries about the euro zone. July crude fell $1.29 to $86.53 a barrel, June gasoline fell 3.32 cents to $2.82 a gallon, and June distillates fell 3.36 to $2.70 a gallon.
Natural gas futures edged higher Thursday, snapping a four-day losing streak, after the U.S. government said gas inventories rose broadly in line with expectations. July Natural gas gained a fraction to $2.42.
On Wall Street, stocks fell on Thursday as the benchmark S&P 500 index ended the worst monthly performance since September, marked by worries over Europe's mounting credit problems. The Dow lost 26 to close at 12,393, the Nasdaq closed at 2,827, down 10 and the S&P 500 fell 3 to close at 1,310.