Livestock futures all rallied Thursday, sparked by signs of demand and technical support. Live cattle futures shot upward as wholesale beef prices continue to show demand is exceeding seasonal expectations. Production will also shrink from 2Q to 3Q, according to USDA. June cattle, which expire today, closed up 10 to $116. Heavily traded August gained 207 to $119. August feeders gained 160 to $150.
Lean hogs also rallied, helped by a corn rally and their extra-wide discount to cash prices. Wholesale-pork prices held stable Wed despite retailers finishing preparations for July 4th grilling. July hogs closed up 115 to 96.72, and the August contract gained 220 to 93.90.
Nearby US corn futures settled higher Thursday while deferred futures fell. Traders said forecasts for hot, dry weather may have already been sufficiently priced into deferred futures after sharp rises earlier this week, while market participants were also adjusting their positions for the USDA reports. Nearby corn rose as traders exited the contract ahead of its delivery period; first-notice day is today and most analysts expect delivery notices against July corn to be near zero amid strong cash markets. July corn rose 2 1/2 to $6.52, July soybeans fell 5 to $14.66, July wheat in Chicago fell 6 to $7.26, and July wheat in KC fell 9 to $7.35.
Cotton futures' surge, even after USDA reports a massive sales cancellation, less than a month after the US made its second-largest sale of the season, most of it to China. But the futures' jump showed that the market didn't believe the sale to start with. December cotton gained 155 to end at 69.51, The thinly-traded July contract ended 229 higher at 70.30.
A gloomy global-growth outlook and the view that policymakers in the U.S. and Europe aren't likely to implement new crisis-fighting steps soon battered prices of precious metals Thursday, sending platinum and palladium to 2012 lows and silver to a 19-month nadir. July gold fell $28 to $1,550.40, July silver slumped 74 to $26.24
U.S. oil futures tumbled sharply Thursday on renewed fears that this week's euro-zone summit would again fall short of resolving the crisis. Nymex oil futures settled at $77.69 a barrel, down $2.52, gasoline settled at $2.61 a gallon, and distillates settled at $2.55 a gallon
Natural gas futures tumbled Thursday after weekly government data showed U.S. gas stockpiles rising more than expected, implying demand for the fuel remains tepid. August Natural gas fell 7.6 cents to $2.72.
On Wall Street, stocks fell on Thursday but ended above session lows on talk of progress among European leaders in resolving the region's debt crisis, while the Supreme Court's ruling upholding a landmark healthcare law hit big health insurers. The Dow lost 24 to close at 12,602, the Nasdaq closed at 2,849, down 25 and the S&P 500 fell 2 to close at 1,329.