Lean hogs finished mixed as nearby July jumped 135 to 97.30 following signs of tight supplies. Most-active August gained 97 to 92.27.
Live-cattle futures closed lower as lower cash prices for cattle added to pressure from steadily falling beef prices. Aug cattle lost 97 to $117. Cash-cattle markets started trading Thursday in the South at $115, or 200 lower than last week. Feeder cattle finished down by their 300 one-day limit following latest jump in corn futures, which depressed demand among buyers of young cattle. Aug feeders ended down 300 to $141.
U.S. corn futures jumped Thursday, recovering the previous day's losses as traders refocused on worries that the Midwest drought could substantially shrink this year's corn harvest.
July corn, thinly traded ahead of the contract's expiration today, gained 20 1/2 to $7.71. Soybean futures ended slightly higher, as traders also worried about the U.S. soy crop's potential due to drought. Traders expressed concern that higher prices haven't sufficiently reduced demand, as weekly U.S. export sales of soybeans came in above expectations. Thinly traded July soybeans rose 2 3/4 to $16.25, November soybeans rose 6 1/2 to $15.29.
Wheat futures also ended higher, boosted mainly by higher corn prices, though analysts are also concerned that wheat supplies could tighten from current high levels. The USDA on Wednesday forecast domestic wheat inventories and total U.S. production at levels below analysts' expectations.
September wheat in Chicago rose 20 1/2 to $8.46, September wheat in KC rose 16 to $8.47.
Cotton settled below 70c/lb for the first time in two weeks after the USDA reported weak sales for the week ending July 5. Futures were also pressured by a stronger dollar. December cotton, the most actively traded contract, fell 109 to 69.93, and the near month October contract lost 128 to 69.36.
Gold fell to a two-week low on Thursday under the weight of a slumping euro and as investors saw few hints of the type of central bank easing that would push investors into precious metals. August gold fell $10.40 to $1,565.30, and September silver closed at $27.16, up 13.8 cents.
After trading at a loss for most of the day, oil prices rallied late Thursday afternoon to close the session higher.
August crude closed at $86.08 a barrel up 27 cents. Front-month gasoline settled at $2.80 a gallon, up 3.7 cents, and Front-month distillates settled at $2.78 a gallon, up 1.2 cents.
Natural gas futures settled higher Thursday, rebounding after Cheniere Energy Partners said it had received financing for a gas export facility that could help relieve the glut of supplies currently holding down prices in the U.S. August Natural gas rose 2.1 cents to $2.87.
On Wall Street, stocks edged lower on Thursday, led by technology shares, while diminished chances of monetary stimulus from major central banks prompted investors to shy away from risky assets. The Dow fell 31 to close at 12,573, the Nasdaq closed at 2,866, up 21, and the S&P 500 fell 6 to 1,334.