Feeder cattle and hog futures moved up sharply as outside markets combined with other factors to spark broad gains. Lean hogs closed up sharply following a steady rebound in wholesale-pork prices and futures' ongoing discount to cash prices. Aug hogs gained 125 to 95.80, October gained 122 to 82.42.
Feeder cattle also rose sharply as early losses in corn futures deepened, easing fears that high feed costs will keep choking feed-yard demand. Live-cattle finished a tick higher as investors' better moods over the euro-zone and U.S. economies overcame signs of soft meat demand. Aug live cattle gained 22 to $118, August feeders gained 132 to $136.
U.S. soybean futures fell sharply Thursday, as Midwest rains raise fear of improved crop-yield potential. Futures fell under pressure from hopes that showers passing across parts of the Midwest would benefit soy crops moving through their critical reproductive stage of development. August soybeans fell 38 1/2 to $16.55.
Separately, corn futures fell, continuing the week's correction from record highs on improved crop weather. Slumping demand resulting from high corn prices made corn look very pricey at current values. September corn ended down 13 1/4 at $7.81. September wheat in Chicago dropped 19 1/4 to $8.84, and September wheat in KC closed down 14 at $8.90.
Cotton futures staged a rally late in the day that was most likely exaggerated by thin trading volume. December cotton gained 188 to 71.39, and near month October gained 158 to 70.68.
Gold futures gained for a second session on Thursday, hitting a three-week high as the euro gained after comments from the European Central Bank calmed investors worried about the currency union's banking crisis. August gold rose $7 to $1,615.10 an ounce, and September silver closed at $27.44, down 2 cents
Oil prices rose somewhat Thursday on reassuring comments from the European Central Bank president and renewed hopes of an economic stimulus. September crude closed at $89.39 up 42 cents.
Natural gas ended higher Thursday after wavering between gains and losses, as traders assessed U.S. government data showing a below-average injection into storage last week. August Natural gas gained 3.5 cents to $3.10.
On Wall Street, stocks rallied on a wave of hope inspired by comments from the European Central Bank President on Thursday, ignoring mixed corporate results to focus on the strongest signal yet of the ECB's intentions to protect the euro zone. The Dow gained 211 to 12,887, the Nasdaq closed at 2,893, up 39, and the S&P 500 gained 22 to close at 1,360.