Lean hog futures fell broadly Thursday, upset by unnerving weakness in wholesale pork prices and higher-than-expected inventories in freezers. April lean hog futures fell 72 to 89.60, the May contract dropped 22 to 98.77.
U.S. live cattle futures faced the end to a record-setting rally on Thursday as cautious traders took profits from long positions ahead of fresh fundamentals due Friday. February Live Cattle fell 205 to 127, March feeders fell 77 to 157.
US wheat futures ended lower, with losses led by Minneapolis futures amid expectations for increased acreage. March wheat in Chicago dropped 2 3/4 to $6.41 and March wheat in KC fell 5 to $6.80.
US corn futures ended mixed, with near-term contracts rising on export demand while deferred months slide on fresh planting forecasts. March corn ended up 1 1/4 at $6.39.
US soybean futures rallied to new five-month highs, fueled by technical buying and strong underlying export demand, Soy product futures ended mixed. March soy ended up 4 1/2 to $12.76, March soy meal ended up $1.60 to $332.90, and March soy oil finished down 2 to 54.20.
Front-month cotton futures settled at a four-month low, even after USDA estimated a nearly 10% drop in US upland cotton acreage this spring. The move lower is a sign that near-term concerns about weak demand are overshadowing worries that bad weather and smaller planted acreage of the fiber will clip supplies this year. March cotton fell 109 to 87.48, the lowest front-month settlement since Dec. 23. May cotton fell 130 to 89.23.
Gold and silver both settled at 2012 highs on Thursday, as a weaker dollar and political tension over sanctions on Iran boosted demand for the metals as alternative assets. April Gold rose $15 to $1,786.30 an ounce, and March Silver gained $1.27 to $35.55.
Crude futures shot higher Thursday as worries about Iran and gains in the euro, equities and other markets trumped data showing still-slumping U.S. fuel demand. April crude gained $1.55 to $107.83 a barrel, March gasoline jumped 2.59 cents to $3.11 a gallon, and March distillates gained 2.25 cents to $3.29 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures settled lower Thursday after U.S. inventory data showed modest shrinkage in the domestic supply glut. March Natural-gas settled at a one-week low of $2.62, down 2.2 cents.
Wall Street stocks rose on Thursday after data showed the U.S. labor market remained on the mend, but the market once again stalled as it approached peaks not seen since before the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers. The Dow gained 46 to close at 12,984, the Nasdaq closed at 2,956, up 23 and the S&P 500 gained 5 to close at 1,363.