Livestock futures were mixed as traders consolidated recent gains.
Higher-than-expected cattle sales in the cash trade sparked a rally in the futures market on Wednesday. An uptick in prices, first at an online auction and then in follow-up sales, sent futures to the top of their daily trading band. Feeder cattle contracts continued to inch higher on a sell-off in corn prices, however. Lean hog futures were also mixed. Higher meat prices, led by soaring pork belly costs, have helped stave off significant losses. But analysts said a downturn as summer demand begins to wane could start to weigh on the market.
August Live cattle futures fell 45 to $117, October was unchanged at $117, while later month contracts were largely steady. August feeders rose 127 to $153.
August lean hog futures fell 10 to 82.52, the October contract gained 5 to 69.32.
Grain and soybean futures fell sharply Thursday as traders raced out of bets that weather troubles would affect this year’s harvest.
Most actively traded contracts for major crops fell over 4%, erasing much of a recent weather-related rally. A benevolent turn in forecasts overnight on Thursday, with longer-term models showing more rain and cooler temperatures, intensified the selling that began after the U.S. Department of Agriculture released what was widely perceived as a negative report for prices on Wednesday.
September Corn fell 15 ¾ to $3.69, August soybeans fell 45 ¼ to $9.75, September Chicago wheat dropped 25 ¼ to $5.11, and September KC wheat dropped 28 ½ to $5.15.
Cotton futures drifted lower alongside other row-crop commodities. October cotton fell 159 to 66.54, and December new crop fell 90 to 66.37.
Oil futures flipped to gains Thursday with growing momentum behind the International Energy Agency’s prediction of higher global demand. August crude gained 52 cents to $46.01 a barrel, August gasoline closed unchanged at $1.53 a gallon, and August diesel gained 2 cents to $1.49 a gallon.
Natural gas futures flipped to small gains from losses after government data showed a smaller-than-expected storage addition for last week. August nat gas gained 2.4 cents to $2.96.
On Wall Street, stocks posted modest gains in early afternoon trading on Thursday as technology stocks rose, while investors shifted their attention to second-quarter earnings. The Dow gained 21 to 21,553, the Nasdaq closed at 6,274, up 13 and the S&P 500 gained 4 to 2,447.