Cattle futures extended a rally on Friday, rising as traders bet feedyards would resist meatpacker-pressure to lower prices in the cash market.
While cash prices for live cattle have fallen in recent weeks, traders are betting that they will remain above futures prices–despite resistance by meatpackers. That would give futures plenty of room for near-term gains.
Hog futures, however, slid Friday, continuing a recent trend. Large supply continues to weigh on the cash market, which has been consistently lower in recent weeks. Traders don’t see that situation changing going into the summer without a major boost in demand.
April live-cattle futures closed 125 higher at $120, and the June contract gained 167 to $111. April feeders gained 180 to $133.
April lean hog futures fell 60 to 63.32, and the May contract dropped 55 to 69.00.
Grain and soybean futures were mostly steady on Friday as traders waited to see what indications regulatory data would give about how hedge funds are thinking. Traders want to see if the CFTC will show managed money further souring on soybeans and increasing bets that prices would fall. Soybean prices are stuck in a tight range after falling through much of March, and analysts want to see whether current levels will resist pressure from major South American harvests.
May corn fell 1 ½ to $3.59, May soybeans gained ½ to $9.42, May Chicago wheat gained ¾ to $4.24, and May KC wheat gained 1 3/4 to $4.21.
Cotton futures continued to tumble into the end of the week on supply versus demand issues. May cotton fell 105 to 73.46, and July fell 93 to 75.47.
Crude futures hit one-month highs Friday as U.S. airstrikes in Syria raised concerns that conflict in the oil-producing region could spread. May crude futures settled up 54 cents to $52.24 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 1.66 cents to $1.74 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose 1.55 cents to $1.62 a gallon.
Natural gas prices tumbled Friday amid a warmer temperature forecast as market participants took profits following a rally that sent natural gas prices to a two-month high this week. May nat gas fell 7 cents $3.26.
Wall Street’s three major indexes edged lower on Friday in a choppy session as investors grappled with a weaker-than-expected job report, the U.S. airstrike in Syria and a top Federal Reserve official’s comments on trimming the U.S. central bank’s balance sheet. The Dow fell 6 to 20,656, Nasdaq fell 1 to 5,877, and the S&P 500 fell 2 to 2,355.