U.S. lean-hog futures climbed to a 5 ½-month high Thursday, supported by the recent uptick in cash markets and expectations for tighter near-term supplies. February lean-hog futures added 5 to 87.60, April futures rose 70 to 89.95
U.S. live-cattle futures finished narrowly lower, after weaker wholesale beef prices at midday re-ignited concern about sluggish domestic beef demand. February live-cattle shed 37 to $127, April cattle, the most actively traded contract, slid 12 to $132.
At the 2 livestock auctions held Wednesday at Norwood and North Wilkesboro a total of 869 cattle and 2 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady to $.50 higher, feeder steers trended mixed, and heifers trended mixed when compared to the previous week. Average dressing slaughter cows brought $71.50 to $84.00. Average dressing slaughter bulls, 1000 lbs. & up, sold at $90.50 to $98.50 with high dressing up to $110.00.
U.S. soybean futures fell on Thursday, pressured by a wetter forecast for crops in Argentina. Wheat futures ended lower after a day of volatile trading, pressured by profit-taking and concerns about tepid export demand. Wheat had followed corn and soybeans upward to reach a one-week high on Wednesday, prompting some traders to sell futures after the rise. Corn futures ended mixed, with nearby futures benefiting from technical buying after holding above chart-based support levels.
March soybeans fell 10 1/4 o $14.68, March wheat in Chicago fell 7 1/2 to $7.79, March wheat in KC fell 3 to $8.37, and March corn rose 1/4 nearly flat, to $7.40.
Greens: Demand moderate. Market about steady. Various containers bunched/loose Collard, Kale, Mustard, and Turnip Tops 6.50-7.00 occasionally higher.
Sweet potatoes: Demand moderate. Market 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, mostly 8.00-9.00, few lower, occasionally higher. No Grade Marks jumbo 6.00-8.00, mostly 6.00 to 7.00, few lower, occasionally higher.
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended steady to 1 cent higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.60-$8.16 at feed mills and $7.65-8.20 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended steady to 10 cents lower and were $14.78 at processors, and $13.89-$14.54 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $471.40 per ton for 48% protein.
Cotton took a breather Thursday morning as some investors skimmed profits after futures settled at a more-than seven-month high last session. March and May cotton both fell a penny to 82.95, and 83.15 respectively.
Gold futures fell on Thursday as investors cashed out on the chance that Friday's U.S. unemployment data would paint a picture of an improving labor market. April gold fell $19.60 to $1,662, and March silver closed at $31.35, down 82 cents.
U.S. crude-oil futures pulled back from a four-month high Thursday as oil traders' recent optimism about economic growth faded ahead of today's monthly jobs data. March crude fell 45 cents to $97.49 a barrel, February gasoline dropped 1.29 cents lower at $3.02 a gallon, and February distillates gained 1.25 cents to $3.12 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures ended little changed Thursday after shedding early sharp losses that followed news showing a less-than-expected drop in inventories. March natural-gas gained a fraction to $3.33.
On Wall Street, stocks edged lower for a second day on caution ahead of today’s all-important jobs report, but the S&P still posted its best monthly gain since October 2011. The Dow fell 49 to 13,860, the Nasdaq closed at 3,142, down a fraction and the S&P 500 fell 3 to 1,498.