U.S. lean-hog futures closed mostly lower Thursday amid continued weakness in wholesale pork and pessimism about demand. August lean hogs ended down 42 to 95.27. All other contracts were lower except for the July contract, which ended up 25 at $102.
CME live-cattle futures were mixed as the market continues its sideways trade amid sluggish beef demand. The market has underlying technical support but remains rangebound, traders said. August live-cattle ended down 15 to $121, while October live-cattle closed up 5 to $126.
U.S. corn futures settled higher Thursday on forecasts for inclement weather in the Farm Belt and a government report that reflected tight current supplies. Soybeans also rose on worries about unfavorable weather for crops. Wheat futures rose on USDA forecasts for greater export demand and tight domestic stockpiles at the end of the current crop year.
July corn futures, thinly traded ahead of their last trading day on Friday, gained 7 to $7.16, July soybeans rose 9 1/2 to $16.01, July wheat in Chicago rose 7 1/4 to $6.79, and July KC wheat fell 1/2 to $7.11
Cotton futures dropped on Thursday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its forecast for U.S. exports of the fiber this season. October cotton feel 212 to 85.18, and December new crop closed unchanged at 86.79.
Gold futures pushed to a two-week high Thursday, a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the U.S. economy needs easy-money policies for the foreseeable future. August gold rose $32.50 to $1,279.90, September silver closed at $19.95, up 79.1 cents
Crude-oil futures fell on Thursday as traders paused to reflect on whether the recent runup in prices to 15-month highs was overdone. August crude oil futures fell $1.61 to $104.91 a barrel, August gained a fraction to $3.03 a gallon, and August heating oil, which trades as a proxy for diesel fuel, fell a fraction to $2.99 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures dropped Thursday after a weekly government report showed that U.S. gas supplies are rising faster than normal for this time of year. August Natural gas fell 6.7 cents to $3.61.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and Dow industrials closed at record highs on Thursday, a day after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reasserted that monetary policy will remain accommodative for some time. The Dow gained 169 to 15,460, the Nasdaq closed at 3,578, up 57, and the S&P 500 gained 22 to 1,675.