U.S. lean-hog futures rallied Thursday, bolstered by strength in cash markets for hogs and steady domestic pork demand. February lean-hog futures rose 107 to 87.05, April hogs, the most actively traded contract, added 167 to 89.67.
U.S. live-cattle futures edged higher Thursday, bouncing back somewhat from recent losses, as traders repositioned ahead of a report Friday that is expected to show an extended decline in supplies of slaughter-bound cattle.
February live-cattle added 1 to $125, April live cattle, the most actively traded contract, slid 1 to $130.
At the 2 livestock auctions held Wednesday at Norwood and North Wilkesboro a total of 605 cattle and 4 goats were sold. Slaughter cows trended steady to $1.50 higher, feeder steers trended mixed, and heifers trended steady to $6.00 higher when compared to the previous week.
Soybean futures settled at one-week lows Thursday, weighed down by improved weather for crops in South America. Corn futures edged higher in the face of losses in soybeans and wheat. Buying by commercial grain companies buoyed corn prices. Wheat futures closed lower for the third-straight day, falling to a one-week low.
March soybeans fell 1 3/4 to $14.35, March corn ended up 3 1/2 to $7.24, March wheat in Chicago ended down 6 1/4 at $7.68, Kansas City Board of Trade March wheat dropped 8 3/4 to $8.21
No. 2 yellow shelled corn trended 4 to 8 cents higher when compared to last report. Prices ranged $7.59-$7.99 at feed mills and $7.34-7.84 at elevators. No. 1 yellow soybeans trended 2 cents lower and were $14.35 at processors, and $13.15-$14.20 at elevators. No. 2 red winter wheat had no trend available. Soybean meal, f.o.b. at processing plants, was $459.70 per ton for 48% protein.
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, occasionally higher and lower. No Grade Marks jumbo 6.00-8.00, mostly 6.00 to 7.00, few lower, occasionally higher.
Cotton futures hit a fresh seven-month high on Thursday on concerns over availability of the fiber this year. March Cotton gained 278 to settle 83.26, and the May contract fell 26 to 80.41.
Gold futures settled at their lowest level in more than a week as some investors were spooked by improvement in the U.S. labor market while others cut back gold holdings in frustration over the metal's lackluster performance. February gold fell $16.80 to $1,669.90, and March silver closed at $31.72, down 71.7 cents
Improving economic data from the world's two largest oil consumers and a drop in oil supplies at a key storage hub sent U.S. crude-oil futures higher Thursday. March crude gained 72 cents to $95.95 a barrel, February gasoline gained 2.91 cents to $2.86 a gallon, and February distillates gained a fraction to $3.08 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures fell Thursday ahead of what forecasters said will be a brief break in frigid weather in key markets. March Natural gas dropped 10.8 cents to $3.44.
World equity and commodity markets rose on Thursday on encouraging economic data, but a steep sell-off in Apple shares that wiped out about $50 billion of its market value threatened to snuff a six-day streak of gains in U.S. stocks. The Dow gained 46 to 13,825, the Nasdaq closed at 3,130 down 23 and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 1,494.