Lean-hog futures closed sharply lower as the selloff in stock and commodity markets amplified concerns about a coming wave of higher supplies of hogs ready for slaughter. August hogs shed 160 to close at 91.60, October hogs, the most actively traded, fell 150 to 78.22.
Higher prices in cash-cattle markets Thursday helped live-cattle futures overcome early losses by narrowing the possibility of big deliveries of animals next week. August live cattle closed up 100 to $120, Feeder cattle for August were close to unchanged at $139.
US grain and soy futures settled lower Thursday after being pressured all day as market participants exited long positions, traders say. Now, forecasts for scattered Midwest rains, weak technical signals and concerns about demand destruction for corn due to high prices weighed broadly on grains and soy. September soybeans fell 15 1/4 at $16.23, September corn fell 6 1/2 to $7.94, and September wheat in Chicago dropped 14 1/2 at $8.65, and September wheat in KC lost 15 to finish at $8.69.
ICE cotton futures ended slightly higher, but volume was paltry — around one half of the average during the past 12 months. Friday's USDA report will dictate the sleepy market's next move, since federal forecasters will base estimates on field-to-field surveys, not statistical models used in other reports. December gained 41 at 70.97, and October gained 38 to 70.44.
Gold futures fell Thursday on disappointment that the European Central Bank kept its monetary policy unchanged at a closely watched meeting. December gold fell $16.60 to $1,590.70, September silver closed at $26.99, down 54 cents.
Crude-oil futures slid Thursday on disappointment that the European Central Bank didn't announce new measures to stimulate the euro-zone economy, raising worries about global oil demand.
September crude lost $1.78 to $87.13 a barrel, Meanwhile, September gasoline defied the downward trend of other commodities to settle 3.54 cents higher at $2.86 a gallon, and September distillates fell 1.65 cents to $2.84 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures plunged Thursday as inventories rose more than expected at a time when peak summer demand is fading. The drop of 7.9% was the biggest one-day fall since April 20, 2010. September natural gas fell 25.1 cents to $2.92.
On Wall Street, stocks fell for a fourth day on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi disappointed investors hoping for immediate action to contain the euro zone debt crisis. The Dow fell 92 to 12,878, the Nasdaq closed at 2,909, down 10 and the S&P 500 lost 10 as well to 1,365.