U.S. lean-hog futures ended mixed, cooling after a big rally. Thinly traded May hog futures rose 4 to 91.30, Most-active June hog futures fell 12 to 92.82
U.S. live-cattle futures rose Thursday, propelled by near-record prices for wholesale beef and cash-traded cattle. Feeder-cattle futures also rose. June live-cattle climbed 117 to $123, August live-cattle advanced 77 to $123 May feeder added 110 to $140.
At the 3 livestock auctions held Wednesday at Smithfield, Norwood and North Wilkesboro a total of 936 cattle and 133 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended mostly steady to $1.00 lower, feeder steers trended mostly $6.00 to $12.00 lower, and heifers trended steady to $5.00 higher when compared to the previous week.
N.C. BROILER-FRYERS: The market is steady and the live supply is adequate to meet the moderate demand. Average weights are heavy. The estimated slaughter for Thursday in North Carolina is 2,852,000 head compared to 2,843,000 head last Thursday.
U.S. corn futures ended higher Thursday, lifted by tight near-term domestic supplies and by concerns about spring planting delays. Wheat futures settled higher, fueled by concerns about crop damage from droughts and freezing weather in the southern Plains and worries about planting delays for spring-wheat crops in the northern Plains. U.S. soybean futures ended mixed Thursday, with contracts reversing early gains as traders took profits on prior gains.
May corn gained 15 3/4 to $6.97, May wheat in Chicago ended up 8 1/4 at $7.18, Kansas City Board of Trade May wheat rose 8 to $8.02, May soybeans gained 3 1/2 at $14.41.
Greens: Demand is moderate. Market is about steady. Various containers, bunched/loose collard, mustard, and turnip tops 7.00-8.00 some 6.50. Kale type was 7.00-9.00, few higher.
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 higher and lower. No Grade Marks jumbo 6.00-7.00, few higher and lower.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 15 to 16 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.12-$7.62 at feed mills and $6.82-7.37 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended mixed and were $14.52 at processors, and $13.57-$14.41 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat was 42 cents lower and was $5.79 at the elevators. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $471.20 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton futures got a lift from stronger U.S. sales of the fiber. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported net export sales of 314,000 bales in the week ended April 25, a 32% increase from the previous week. July cotton gained 229 to 86.16, and December new crop gained 143 to 84.47.
Gold futures gained Thursday as traders bet demand for the metal would rise after the European Central Bank lowered interest rates and the Federal Reserve signaled a steady hand on its easy-money policies. June gold rose $21.40 to $1,467.60, and July silver closed at $23.83, up 48.70 cents.
Crude-oil futures prices posted modest gains Thursday as strong economic signals were partly offset by worries about sluggish demand and high supplies. June crude gained 65 cents to $91.68 a barrel, June- gasoline fell 1.04 cents to $2.70 a gallon, and June distillates gained 1.31 cents to $2.80 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures plunged Thursday after a report showed a steep rise in U.S. gas inventories, suggesting waning demand for the fuel used to heat homes and generate electricity. June Natural gas dropped 30.1 cents to $4.02.
On Wall Street, stocks closed about 1 percent higher on Thursday, led by tech shares, after weekly jobless claims figures pointed to improving labor market conditions a day before the closely watched monthly payroll report. The Dow gained 130 to 14,831, the Nasdaq closed at 3,340, up 41, and the S&P 500 gained 14 to 1,597.