Cattle futures tumbled to a fresh four-month low Thursday, pressured by a dip in the beef markets and worries about an uptick in projected costs for feed ingredients like corn.
April live-cattle futures slid 315 to $122, the lowest closing price for a front-month contract since mid-December. Cattle for June closed limit down at $114, Feeder-cattle futures for April expired at $145, and Most-active feeder-cattle futures for May settled limit-down, dropping 450 to $140.
The hog market, meanwhile, is getting a boost from steady gains in the cash markets and hopes for continued strength in U.S. exports of pork. June hogs advanced 130 to 80.77, and July jumped 105 to 81.25.
Grain and soybean futures advanced Thursday due to signs of strong demand for U.S. crops and a weaker U.S. dollar.
Corn rose as U.S. weekly export sales topped analyst forecasts, indicating better-than-expected foreign demand for the grain. Wheat climbed, bolstered in part by stronger-than-expected demand. Soybean prices rallied to a more-than-eight-month high amid solid weekly export sales, continued nervousness over crop losses in Argentina and rising prices for crude oil.
May corn gained 7 1/4 to $3.88, May Chicago wheat gained 8 to $4.82, May KC wheat fell 3 to $4.61, and May soybeans gained 11 1/2 to $10.30
Cotton futures slipped on Thursday with the July contract falling 46 to 63.69, and December new crop dropping 46 to 62.54.
Gold futures closed higher Thursday after new data showed the U.S. economy grew at a sluggish 0.5% rate in the first quarter and the dollar fell. June gold gained $17.00 to $1,267.40, and June silver closed at $17.59, up 27 cents.
Oil prices chugged higher for the sixth time in eight sessions, setting a fresh, nearly-six-month high as traders are increasingly confident the market’s oversupply will wane.
June crude gained 70 cents to $46.03 a barrel, Gasoline futures settled up 1.72 cents at $1.59, and Diesel futures rose 2.51 cents to $1.40 a gallon.
Natural gas prices fell further Thursday, retreating from the higher prices that came with a new June front-month as heavy supplies continue to weigh on the market. June nat gas fell 7.5 cents to $2.07.
Stocks on Wall Street closed down on Thursday as the Bank of Japan’s shocking call to cap monetary stimulus continued to rattle investors while a late day decline in Apple shares on remarks from billionaire investor Carl Icahn added to selling pressure. The Dow fell 210 to 17,830, the Nasdaq closed at 4,805, down 57, and the S&P 500 fell 19 to 2,085.