Hog Futures Rise in Spite of Heavy Supplies

Hog futures brushed off supply pressures to close higher, locking in gains for the week.

Analysts say the spread between front- and later-month futures, cash-market hog prices and the cost of wholesale pork has become unusually wide. Though cash and pork prices have trended lower for the most part, they remain at a premium to futures.

That has sparked buying interest as traders bet that futures will have to rise in order to close some of those gaps, analysts say, even if the specter of growing hog supplies is hanging over the market.

August Lean hogs rose 125 to 83.22, with the most-active October contract up 127 to 66.77.

Cattle futures, meanwhile, were mixed on Friday despite rising over the course of the week. Prices in the cash trade were largely steady from last week

August live cattle futures rose 22 to $115, the October contract fell 72 to $114, and August feeders fell 70 to $149.

Both cattle and hog supplies are expected to increase later this year, which has weighed down prices recently. But analysts say there are some potential boosts to demand on the horizon.

Corn and spring wheat futures crept higher on lingering concerns about the condition of those crops, while soybeans steadied.

Despite a positive turn in U.S. weather forecasts, problem areas remain for crops. The Commodity Weather Group said Friday morning that portions of Midwestern corn and soybean growing areas would be on the dry side through mid-August, despite beneficial cooler temperatures. Higher crude oil prices also supported grain and soybean contracts.

September Corn rose 3 to $3.66, August soybeans closed 1 ¼  lower at $9.49, September Chicago wheat dropped 3 to $4.54, and September KC wheat fell ¼ to $4.59.

Cotton futures ended mixed on Friday with the October contract falling 56 to 70.99, and December gaining 46 to 70.62.

Oil futures pushed higher Friday as investors looked ahead to a planned meeting of OPEC this week.

September  crude futures rose 55 cents to $49.58 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 1.44 cents to $1.64 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose a fraction to $1.64 a gallon.

Natural gas futures slid for a third day Friday to finish their worst week in two months as expectations of a cool August solidified.  September nat gas fell 2.6 cents to $2.77.

On Wall Street, The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at its eighth straight record high on Friday, with gains in JPMorgan Chase and other banks after data showed U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in July.

The strong jobs report is likely to clear the way for the Federal Reserve to announce a plan to start shrinking its $4.2 trillion bond portfolio in September, and could strengthen its case to raise rates for the third time this year in December.   The Dow gained 66 to finish the week at 22,092, the Nasdaq closed at 6,351, up 11 and the S&P 500 gained 4 to 2,476.

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.