U.S. lean-hog futures finished mixed, as traders weighed a ballooning supply picture with sentiment that pork demand could improve slightly in the summer months. April hogs gained 37 to 81.60, June hog futures declined 5 to 89.45
U.S. live-cattle futures finished modestly higher Thursday, as some traders considered sharp losses earlier this week slightly overdone. Feeder-cattle futures were pressured by an uptick in corn prices April live-cattle futures picked up 3 to $125, June live cattle added 65 to $120, April feeders fell 127 to $139.
At the 2 livestock auctions held Wednesday at Norwood and North Wilkesboro a total of 1091 cattle and no goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended $1.00 to $3.00 lower, feeder steers trended $9.00 to $23.00 lower, and heifers trended $3.00 to $12.00 lower when compared to the previous week. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $70.00 to $84.50. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $87.00 to $100.00.
Soybean futures finished mixed Thursday, with nearby contracts settling at their highest levels in two weeks on tight supplies. Corn futures ended higher, fueled by tight supplies and expectations for improved demand. Wheat futures settled higher, boosted by concerns about possible freeze damage to crops in the Plains and hopes for improved export demand. May soybeans gained 9 1/4 to $14.02, May corn ended up 2 1/4 at $6.51, May wheat in Chicago ended up 1 at $6.97, and Kansas City Board of Trade May wheat rose 8 3/4 to $7.38.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 2 to 7 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.01-$7.36 at feed mills and $6.71-7.31 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 10 to 15 cents higher and were $14.47 at processors, and $13.62-$14.02 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was steady and was $6.03 at the elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $435.00 per ton for 48% protein.
Greens: Demand is moderate. Market is about steady. Wide range in prices. Various containers, bunched/loose collard, mustard, and turnip tops 7.00-8.00 some 6.50. Kale type was 9.00-15.00.
Sweet potatoes: Demand is moderate. Market is about steady. 40 lb cartons Orange Types U.S. No. 1 13.00-15.00, few higher and lower. U.S. No. 1 Petite 10.00-12.00 few higher and lower. U.S. No. 2 7.00-9.00, few lower, occasionally higher. No Grade Marks jumbo 6.00-8.00, mostly 6.50-7.00, few lower, occasionally higher.
Cotton futures edged higher in early trade Thursday as investors took stock of the upward revision to expected Chinese imports in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly supply-demand report, released during the previous session, but futures were unable to hang on to the gains. May cotton fell 71 to 84.66, and December new crop fell 91 to 85.66.
Gold prices settled higher Thursday, recouping recent losses, as a stronger euro lured foreign buyers to the market and put pressure on bearish investors. June gold gained $6.10 to $1,564.90, and May silver closed at $27.69, up 4.4 cents.
U.S. crude-oil futures fell Thursday as slumping gasoline prices and forecasts for weaker global demand weighed on the oil market. May crude fell $1.13 to $93.51 a barrel, May distillates fell 4.88 to $2.89 a gallon, April gasoline fell 3.41 cents to $2.83 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures climbed to a 20-month high Thursday after government data showed supplies dropped in the latest week and the central U.S. braced for below-normal temperatures. May natural gas gained 5.4 cents to $4.18.
On Wall Street, stocks rose for a fourth straight day sending the Dow and the S&P to new closing highs as positive data on the labor market and an encouraging retail outlook eased recent concerns about economic growth. The Dow gained 62 to close at 14,865, the Nasdaq closed at 3,300, up 2 and the S&P 500 gained 5 to 1,593.