Cattle futures surged to a six-month high in the second-to-last trading session for the front-month contract, buoyed by strong demand for livestock and beef.
Thinly traded December cattle futures picked up 272 to $118, the highest settlement since June 30, February live-cattle futures climbed 57 to $117, and Feeder-cattle futures for January climbed 20 cent to $131.
Meanwhile, hog futures ended the session mixed, pressured by profit-taking in the front-month contract after recent gains.
February Lean-hog futures fell 45 to 64.65, April Hogs rose 15 to 66.22.
Wheat and corn futures settled higher Thursday, lifted by a decline in the U.S. dollar. Soybean contracts fell.
Consideration of U.S. wheat in a widely followed Egyptian grain tender helped support contracts, reflecting the idea that even if foreign buyers don’t purchase American grain, it is at least in the running as grain supplies run high around the world. March corn futures also climbed Thursday, after dipping into negative territory for part of the session.
March Chicago wheat gained 3 1/4 to $4.04, March KC wheat gained 5 ¾ to $4.15, March corn gained 1 ½ to $3.49, January soybeans fell 3 ½ to $10.03
Cotton futures gained on Thursday with the March contract gaining 75 to 70.50, and May also gained 75 to 70.90.
Oil futures slipped Thursday after data showing an unexpected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles. February crude fell 29 cents to $53.77 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose a fraction to $1.68 a gallon, and Diesel futures gained a fraction to $1.70 a gallon.
Natural gas futures retreated Thursday as moderating weather forecasts had traders pulling back slightly from a strong rally despite a larger-than-expected withdrawal from stockpiles. February Natural gas fell 9.6 cent to $3.80.
Stocks on Wall Street closed slightly lower on Thursday as bank shares declined in quiet holiday trading as traders looked to position for the new year. The Dow fell 13 to 19,819, the Nasdaq closed at 5,432, down 6 and the S&P 500 fell a fraction to 2,249.