Market Recap: Grains & Oilseeds Slide on Stronger Dollar
Lean-hog futures finished lower on worries over domestic and export demand. February hog futures fell 132 to 83.85 cents, April hog futures finished down 62 at 87.12.
Live-cattle futures fell Thursday, pressured by a decline in wholesale beef prices and ample near-term supplies. February Live Cattle dropped 67 to $120, Futures for feeder cattle ended slightly higher, with the January contract up 12 at $147.
US wheat futures ended sharply lower on pressure from corn and a stronger dollar. March wheat in Chicago ended down 20 ¾ at $6.29 and March wheat in KC tumbled 28 to $6.86.
US corn futures stumbled Thursday, ending lower on an improved Argentina weather forecast that eased concerns about the crop there. March corn ended down 15, to $6.43.
US soybean futures fell sharply, fueled by speculative selling triggered by strength in the US dollar index and forecasts calling for improved chances of rain for South American soybean crops next week, Soy product futures slumped in unison with soybeans. March soybeans dropped 21 to $12.09, March soy meal ended down $7.40 at $313.20; and March soy oil fell 97 to 52.06.
Cotton traded lower on Thursday with the euro is sharply weaker vs. the US dollar. Weekly export sales will be delayed until today due to the holiday. A Reuters poll at the Beltwide Cotton conference showed producers significantly reducing planting due to lower prices than last year. March cotton fell 118 to close at $94.74, and the May contract dropped 124 to close at $94.48.
Gold futures edged higher Thursday, settling at the highest price in three weeks as investors continued to warm to the precious metal after December's losses. February gold rose $7.40 to $1,620.10, and Mar silver closed at $29.29, up 19.9 cents.
Crude oil futures slumped below $102 a barrel Thursday as worries over near-term weak U.S. oil demand eclipsed concerns over the potential disruption to Iran's oil supplies. February crude dropped $1.41 or to $101.81 a barrel, February gasoline fell 4.87 cents to $2.73 a gallon, and February distillates fell 5.11 cents to $3.03 a gallon.
Natural gas futures slid to a fresh 28-month low on Thursday after the government reported a smaller-than-expected draw in inventories, as mild temperatures across the U.S. continue to curb demand. February Natural gas plunged 11.6 cents to $2.98.
Financial companies led the Dow back from a triple-digit retreat on Thursday as traders shook off concerns about Europe's banking crisis, although the blue-chip average still snapped a two-day rally. The Dow finished down 2 at 12,415, the Nasdaq closed at 2,669, up 21 and the S&P 500 gained 3 ¾ to close at 1,281.