Livestock Futures Gain Going into Long Weekend

Cattle futures extended a rally on Thursday as feedyards fetched higher prices on the cash market.

After a slow day of trade on Wednesday, meat packer demand on Thursday ticked up from the previous week. Hog futures prices also rose on Thursday

April live cattle futures rose 117 to $125, the June contract gained 35 to $114, and April feeders gained 30 to $137.

April lean hog contracts gained 22 to 62.45, May gained 27 to 68.30.

Corn and soybean futures rose on Thursday as traders drew on planting delays and a weaker currency to extend a rally. Prices have traded lower in recent weeks on the back of large South American corn and soybean production forecasts, a prospect further evidenced when USDA increased its own estimates earlier in the week. With rain delaying early corn plantings, traders will be closely watching for signs that progress is lagging significantly behind schedule. That rain, however, was not helping wheat.

May soybeans rose 7 ¾  to $9.55, corn gained 2 to $3.71, May Chicago wheat fell 3 ½  to $4.29, and May KC wheat dropped 2 ¾ to $4.27.

Cotton futures ended the trading week in positive territory with the May contract gaining 89 to 75.62, and July gaining 31 to 76.54.

The oil-price rally continued for a third week, but prices were little changed Thursday as investors were still weighing rising U.S. production against the prospect of extended production cuts by OPEC. May crude futures settled up 7 cents to $53.18 a barrel, Gasoline futures fell a fraction to $1.73 a gallon, and Diesel futures also fell a fraction to $1.64 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures rose Thursday but still ended the week lower, snapping a three week streak of gains after a sharp selloff earlier in the week.

May Natural gas settled up 4 cents at $3.22.

Major indexes slid for a second consecutive week, as investors dumped shares of financial and industrial companies while picking up haven assets.

Declines on Thursday were broad, with all 11 sectors of the S&P 500 ending lower.

Concerns over flaring tensions in North Korea, Russia and Syria, as well as light trading ahead of the long weekend, contributed to the tepid moves in stocks.  The Dow fell 138 to 20,453, the Nasdaq closed at 5,805, down 31, and the S&P 500 dropped 16 to 2,328.

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.