Lean hog futures ended lower, with the June contract slipping 35 to 94.20. Wednesday's monthly cold storage report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture weighed on the market, traders said. The report showed domestic frozen pork stocks at the end of April were well above the previous-month and year-ago figures and well above analyst expectations. June hogs fell 35 to 94.20, and the August contract fell 27 to 91.80.
U.S. live-cattle futures also ended lower Thursday under pressure from cash-market prices and concerns about demand. June live cattle ended down 87 at $119, the August contract fell 102 to $118.
U.S. soybean futures finished higher Thursday, with the spot July contract rising to a new eight-month high on tight domestic stockpiles of the oilseed. U.S. wheat futures settled higher Thursday, rising to one-week highs on larger-than-expected weekly export sales, worries about U.S. spring wheat planting delays and concerns about winter wheat crop conditions in the Great Plains. Corn futures ended higher, climbing with wheat amid signs of solid underlying domestic demand. July soybeans finished up 5 1/4 at $14.99, July wheat in Chicago ended up 14 3/4 at $7.03, July wheat in KC rose 11 1/4 to $7.54, and July corn finished up 3 ½ at $6.62.
Cotton futures slipped to a nearly three-month low on Thursday as preliminary manufacturing data in China hinted at a slowdown in the world's biggest consumer of the fiber. July Cotton ended 106 lower at 81.78, and December new crop fell 75 to 83.64.
Gold futures snapped to a one-week high on Thursday as a slump in global equities markets and the U.S. dollar drew investors in search of a refuge to the precious metal. June gold rose $24.40 to $1,391.80, and July silver closed at $22.50, up 3.60 cents.
Crude-oil futures prices slashed deep early losses and rebounded with equities prices to settle just three cents lower at $94.25 a barrel Thursday. June gasoline gained a fraction to $2.82 as gallon, and June distillates fell 1.36 cents to $2.86 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures finished at a three-week high Thursday after a government report signaled brisk demand for the fuel used to generate electricity. June nat gas jumped 7.5 cents to $4.26.
On Wall Street, stocks slipped, but finished sharply off their session lows as a rally in Hewlett-Packard’s shares offset worries about weak Chinese manufacturing data and the prospects of the Federal Reserve Reducing its monetary stimulus. The Dow finished down 12 at 15,294, the Nasdaq closed at 3,459, down 3 and the S&P 500 dropped 4 to finish the day at 1,650.