Lean-hog futures finished mixed, with big discrepancies between earlier- and later-expiring contracts. Sooner-expiring contracts jumped on wholesale prices even as later-expiring contracts fell victim to concerns about rising production later this year. June hog futures climbed 112 to 93.07, July hog futures gained 62 to 93.32
U.S. live cattle futures rallied near the end of the session Thursday as higher cash-cattle prices suggested beef demand for the spring-grilling season remains strong. June live cattle climbed 167 to $119, August feeder cattle finished up 115 to $159
U.S. soy futures closed higher Thursday, boosted by concerns that U.S. soybean inventories could fall lower than expected. July Soybeans closed up 41 3/4 at $14.28
Corn and wheat futures also rose Thursday, both boosted by outside markets including a weaker dollar. Worries about dry soil in the corn belt also boosted corn futures, as traders worried that the health of crops there could decline. July corn rose 7 3/4 to $5.94
Wheat futures were also lifted by corn, as the two crops compete in the animal-feed market. Concerns about lack of rain in Russia reducing the country's wheat yields also boosted prices. July wheat in Chicago rose 17 1/2 to $6.41, Kansas City Board of Trade July wheat rose 13 1/2 to $6.68
Cotton futures shot up for a 2nd-consecutive session, even after daily limit rose to 400 after the commodity rose the general 300 limit Wednesday. July cotton closed limit up at 73.89, the October contract gained 384 to 71.29.
Gold futures slumped Thursday, closing below $1,600 an ounce for the first time in a week after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke did not describe any new monetary easing measures while speaking to Congress. August gold dropped $46.20 to $1,588.00, and Jul silver closed at $28.52, down 95.9 cents.
Crude-oil futures turned weaker Thursday, erasing early strong gains after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke stopped short of signaling imminent new Fed action to stimulate the economy. July crude fell 20 cents to$84.82 a barrel, July gasoline fell a fraction to $2.68 a gallon, while July distillates also a fraction lower at $2.66 a gallon.
Natural gas futures tumbled to a one-month low Thursday after an increase in U.S. gas inventories renewed concerns about the massive domestic supply glut. July Natural gas fell 14.7 cents to$2.27.
On Wall Street, stocks finished mixed on Thursday as optimism about China's interest-rate cut was offset by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments, which dimmed hopes for more U.S. stimulus. The Dow gained 46 to close at 12,460, the Nasdaq closed at 2,831, down 13 and the S&P 500 fell a fraction to 1,314.