Hog futures managed a second day of gains as short-covering by traders, along with a discount to cash prices, helped lift a very beleaguered hog complex. Wholesale prices continue to show a quick fall-off in demand post-Memorial Day. June hogs gained 100 to 85.20, and the July contract gained 55 to close at 86.57.
Cattle futures finished a bumpy session with modest losses after wholesale beef prices and the risks of holding positions through the three-day holiday weekend led to selling. June live cattle finished down 22 at $117, August feeder cattle finished off 35 at $1.58.
US wheat futures jumped Friday after falling earlier in the week, as concerns renewed about dry weather in key production regions including southern Russia, Ukraine and the Great Plains. Some traders say reduced yields in Kansas, where harvest is just beginning, also boosted futures, though the crop is still in good condition overall. Wheat's gains also lifted corn futures, and corn and soy were both supported by a mixed rain outlook for the Midwest. July wheat in Chicago rose 17, to $6.80. July soybeans gained 6 to $13.82; July corn settled flat at $5.78, and December corn rose 6 1/2 to $5.21.
As if it wasn't bad enough for cotton futures, which are grappling with recent much-needed rainfall in top US growing state Texas and projections for ample global supplies and weak demand, outside markets and concerns over a recession are also weighing down prices. July cotton fell 32 to 73.62, and the October contract gained 23 to close at 72.72.
Gold futures edged higher Friday as some traders were reluctant to go into the weekend holding bets prices would fall on the chance there would be a new development in Europe's debt crisis. June gold rose $11.40 to $1,568.90 an ounce, and July silver closed at $28.38, up 22.90 cents
Oil futures eked out a gain Friday, as traders remained wary of staking out large positions following inconclusive talks with Iran and a long weekend in the U.S.
July crude gained 20 cents to $90.86 a barrel, June gasoline gained 1.64 cent to $2.89 a gallon, and June distillates gained a fraction to $2.82 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures fell Friday as traders and analysts suggested utilities' appetite for the fuel as an alternative to coal might have hit a ceiling. June Natural gas fell 7.9 cents to $2.56.
On Wall Street U.S. stocks ended their first positive week in four with a down day on Friday as investors were reluctant to buy going into a long weekend, with uncertainty still swirling around Europe. The Dow fell 74 to close at 12,454, the Nasdaq closed at 2,837, down 1 and the S&P 500 dropped 2 to close at 1,317.