Lean-hog futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange slid to two-week lows in most contracts Thursday, pressured by seasonally expanding supplies of slaughter-ready animals and recent sharp declines in wholesale pork prices. October lean hogs fell 142 to close at 84.40, December hogs were down 102 to 81.60.
Live-cattle futures declined as well. Bigger supplies of cattle expected in the near-term and larger amounts of competing meats weighed on cattle futures. Lower corn prices helped prop up feeder cattle futures despite the weakness in live cattle as feeders were nearly flat. August live cattle closed down 80 to $123, October cattle were down 77 at $127, August feeders closed down 12 at $155.
U.S. corn and soybean futures fell Thursday after Midwest rainfall eased concerns about both crops.
Better-than-expected rainfall overnight in parts of the western corn belt, followed by continued rains further east Thursday, are giving many areas some much-needed relief from a recent dry spell. Soybean crops in particular have been in need of rain, traders said. The dryness has helped rally grain and soybean futures recently. Wheat was also lower.
September corn delivery ended down 10 1/4 to $4.87, September soybean futures fell 11 to $13.22, September wheat in Chicago ended down 8 1/4 to $6.30, and September KC wheat dropped 5 ¼ to $6.94.
Most soft-commodities markets slipped Thursday as robust supplies and lackluster demand kept prices under pressure. Cotton prices have tumbled 9.8% this week after the government in top cotton consumer China said imports of cotton fell 17% in July from a year earlier, and were down 21% on the year in the January-July period. But, cotton eased on Thursday with near month October gaining 4 to 83.95, and December new crop gaining 16 to 84.40.
Gold futures settled near unchanged on Thursday as details from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting didn't offer any new details on potential shifts to its stimulus program. December gold rose 70 cents to $1,370.80, September silver closed at $23.03, up 7.2 cents.
Crude-oil futures rebounded Thursday after three days of losses, lifted by growth in China's manufacturing sector. October crude gained $1.18 to $105.03 a barrel, September gasoline futures gained 2.71 cents at $2.96 a gallon, September distillates fell a fraction to $3.06 a gallon.
Natural-gas prices climbed to a four-week high Thursday after government data showed a smaller-than-expected increase in the amount of gas in storage, implying a pickup in demand. September Natural gas gained 8.5 cents to $3.54.
On Wall Street, stocks closed higher on Thursday in a trading session marred by a historic trading halt of roughly three hours on the Nasdaq stock exchange as a result of technical problems. The Dow gained 66 to close at 14,963, the Nasdaq closed at 3,638, and the S&P 500 gained 14 to 1,656.