Hog Futures Fall Sharply and Bears Show Up

Hog futures fell sharply as traders bet a recent run-up had come to an end.

Hog contracts trended upward through much of this year, hitting multiyear highs in early July on the back of strong demand for pork meats like bacon. But a drop in pork prices on Thursday had futures traders rolling out of optimistic positions on Friday.

Cattle futures, however, rose despite pressure from external markets. Sharp selling in grain futures this week supported the market, but grain prices turned higher on Friday. Still, an unexpectedly higher cash cattle trade during the week gave the futures market a boost.

August lean hog futures fell 262 to 79.90, the October contract dropped 215 to 67.17.

August live cattle futures rose 37 to $117, the October contract gained 75 to $118, and August feeder cattle rose 125 to $154.

Corn and soybean futures bounced ahead of the weekend after falling sharply in recent days.

Some improved weather this week prompted traders to race out of bets that hot and dry conditions would limit corn and soybean yields this season. But forecasts showed difficult growing conditions lingering in some places through the weekend. That risk encouraged some fresh buying on Friday. Wheat futures were mixed.

September Corn futures rose 6 ½  to $3.76, August soybeans gained 13 ½  to $9.89, September Chicago wheat futures fell 1 to $5.10, and September KC wheat dropped 2 to $5.13.

Near month cotton futures ended the week higher with the October contract gaining 64 to 67.18, and December new crop rising 21to 66.58

Oil prices rose for a fifth straight day Friday, as the U.S. dollar weakened and investors focused on signs of an easing supply overhang.

August crude futures settled up 46 cents to $46.54 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 3.44 cents to $1.56 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose 2.33 cents to $1.51 a gallon.

Natural gas edged higher Friday, but stopped short of the $3 mark it has traded around in recent weeks.

August Natural gas settled up 1.9 cents to $2.98.

On Wall Street, stocks were up on Friday, with the Dow and S&P 500 both hitting intraday record highs after weak economic data dulled prospects of more interest rate hikes this year.  The Dow gained 84 to 21,637, the Nasdaq closed at 6,312, up 38 and the S&P 500 gained 11 to 2,459.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.