U.S. livestock futures closed without clear direction in light trading Friday, reflecting moves by traders to square books before the weekend.
Lean-hog futures finished mostly higher as signs of tight supplies in cash markets added to a lift from traders' moves to cover short positions. July hogs gained 40 to close at 96.22, August hogs, the most actively traded, finished up 42 to close at 93.30
Live-cattle futures closed with a mix of flat and higher prices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. August live cattle finished close to unchanged at $119, August feeders gained 57 to $146.
US grain and soy futures close lower Friday, as market participants take profits following sharp gains in the last two weeks that drove front-month corn and soybeans close to all-time high levels. Traders are still highly concerned about worsening drought conditions in the Midwest that could damage corn and soybean crops, but some also exited positions to reduce risk ahead of the weekend, when weather forecasts can shift and change expectations for the crop. Outside markets also added pressure, with the dollar much stronger Friday. July corn fell 24 3/4 to $7.43, July soybeans fell 6 3/4 to $16.19, July wheat in Chicago fell 31 1/4 to $7.91, and July wheat in KC dropped 37 ¾ to $7.89.
Dec cotton futures ended fractionally lower in very thin trade, after lackluster U.S. cotton export sales lulled the market toward the end of the week. December Cotton closed at 70.62, up 4, near month July fell 24 to 70.78.
Gold futures fell Friday, tracking declines in the euro after a reading on the U.S. labor market missed forecasts but didn't show enough weakness to lift expectations that the Federal Reserve will have to act to prop up the economy. August gold fell $30.50 to $1,578.90, and September silver closed at $26.92, down 75.2 cents.
Crude oil futures fell Friday after a surprisingly weak U.S. jobs report and amid expectations that a Norwegian oil strike would end soon. August crude settled at $84.45 a barrel, down $2.77, Front-month gasoline closed at $2.72, a gallon, down 6 cents, and front-month distillate futures ended the week at $2.71 a gallon, down 6.2 cents.
Natural-gas futures finished sharply lower Friday, shrugging off a closely watched government report that suggested demand for the fuel remains strong. August Natural gas fell 16.9 cents to $2.77.
On Wall Street, stocks fell about 1 percent on Friday as another month of tepid jobs growth underlined fears the economy was stalling, though not to the point where more economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve was imminent. The Dow finished the week down 124 at 12,772, the Nasdaq closed at 2,937, down 38, and the S&P 500 fell 12 to 1,354.