Livestock futures rallied Thursday, as hopes that demand will remain strong for light-weight animals due to plunging costs for grains like corn and wheat carried the market for fattened cattle and hogs.
August Feeder-cattle picked up 352 to $224 a, the highest closing price for a front-month contract in 4 1/2-months. June Live-cattle futures gained 102 to $153
The hog market, too, benefited from the demand optimism, steadily gaining over the last month after a wave of heavy-weight hogs pushed the market to the lowest levels in around five years. June hogs rose 82 to 84.60, a 5-month peak. July hog futures advanced 130 to 84.62
Grain futures rose Thursday, turning higher as selling petered out and government data reflected increased demand for some crops. Soybeans fell.
Corn prices climbed after sliding in the previous session to the lowest level in more than seven months. Wheat prices also ticked higher after dropping to the lowest levels in two weeks on Tuesday, due largely to investor short-covering. Soybean prices slipped, shrugging off stout domestic demand for the crop and speculation that a strike in Argentina could disrupt shipments and prompt importers to turn to the U.S. for supplies instead.
July Corn rose 4 to $3.53, July Chicago wheat added 1 to $4.88, July KC wheat fell 1 ¾ to $5.10, and July soybeans shed 1to $9.26.
Cotton futures jumped on Thursday as rain on the Texas plains, the largest cotton production region in the country, continues to slow planting progress. July cotton gained 128 to 64.33, and the October contract gained 28 to 65.23.
Gold prices edged higher Thursday, as weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs data reminded investors of the uneven recovery of the world’s largest economy. August gold finished up $2.30 at $1,188.80, July silver closed at $16.66, up 2.2 cents.
Oil prices eked out a gain Thursday after weekly inventory data showed bigger-than-expected drops in crude and gasoline supplies.
July crude gained 17 cents to $57.68 a barrel, Gasoline futures jumped 4.06 cents to $1.98 a gallon, and Diesel futures gained 1.38 cents to $1.87 a gallon.
Natural gas futures suffered their largest one-day drop in more than two months on Thursday as U.S. inventory data showed supplies rose more than expected last week. July Natural gas finished the day down 14.1 cents at $2.70.
On Wall Street, stocks slipped on Thursday as mixed messages about Greece’s debt talks kept investor uncertainty high, while a sharp drop in Chinese indexes after brokers tightened margin rules also weighed on sentiment. The Dow fell 36 to 18,126, the Nasdaq closed at 5,097, donw 8 and the S&P 500 fell 2 to 2,120.