Live-cattle futures settled sharply higher Thursday, after surging by the exchange limit for two consecutive sessions, settling at a 1 1/2-week high as investors bet that demand for beef is likely to recover in the weeks ahead.
October cattle futures picked up 182 to $131, the highest closing price since Sept. 28. December cattle futures rose 152 to $137, and Feeder-cattle futures for October recovered 292 to $187.
Hog futures also settled higher, buoyed by buying across the livestock markets. October hog futures rose 17 to 74.00, a two-month peak. December hogs also picked up 17 to 66.15.
Grain and soybean futures fell Thursday, sliding as buying slowed across agricultural markets prior to a key government report and farmers made steady harvest progress in the U.S. Midwest.
Soybeans declined, easing as clear skies in the U.S. Farm Belt enabled growers to make rapid harvest progress, adding fresh supplies to the market and pressuring prices. Corn also slid after reaching a more than two-month high on Tuesday. Wheat slid, buffeted by profit-taking among traders after prices climbed to a more than two-month high earlier in the week.
November Soybean slid 9 3/4 to $8.81, December corn shed 4 1/2 to $3.91, December Chicago wheat declined 5 1/4 to $5.11, and December KC wheat fell 4 ½ to $5.03.
Cotton futures saw little movement on Wednesday awaiting today’s supply and demand report, and awaiting damage reports from southeastern flooding. December cotton fell 33 to 61.72, and the March contract fell 35 to 61.60.
Gold futures pushed higher, shaking off earlier losses Thursday, as a dovish tone in the Federal Reserve’s meeting minutes bolstered investor speculation that officials would hold off on raising interest rates. December gold fell $9.90 to $1,138.80, and November silver closed at $15.64, down 45 cents.
Oil futures rose Thursday, briefly trading above $50 a barrel for the first time since July, as the dollar weakened and traders focused on expectations of shrinking U.S. production. November crude gained $1.62 at $49.43 a barrel, gasoline gained 1.78 cents to $1.40, and Diesel futures rose 2.22 cents to $1.60 a gallon.
Natural gas prices made a small, sharp move higher Thursday to near a one-week high after last week’s storage addition turned out to be slightly smaller than expected. November nat gas gained 2.4 cents at $2.49
On Wall Street, stocks ended higher on Thursday with the S&P 500 closing at a seven-week high as investors saw further signs of dovishness in the Federal Reserve’s September meeting minutes which shed light on its decision to keep interest rates near zero. The Dow gained 138 to 17,050, the Nasdaq closed at 4,810, up 19 and the S&P 500 gained 17 to 2,013.