Lean-hog futures ended higher, with the August contract climbing 82 to 96.62 and October gained 35 to 85.62.
U.S. live-cattle futures ended higher amid technical buying and expectations that the market is poised to rise seasonally, feeder-cattle also ended higher, on tight supplies and weakness in corn futures. August live-cattle ended up 80, to $122, October live cattle gained 122 to $126, and August feeder-cattle ended up 115 to $152.
U.S. soybean futures stayed lower as trading ended Thursday, pressured by a more favorable weather forecast for crops. Corn futures were mixed, with deferred futures also pressured by the better weather outlook. But nearby corn contracts rose on worries about tight current supplies and strong cash markets. Wheat futures fell on the weakness in corn and soybeans and on a weekly government report that showed export sales of wheat at the low end of analysts' expectations.
August soybean futures fell 8 1/4 to $14.69, September corn rose 2 1/2 to $5.41, September wheat in Chicago fell 4 1/2 to $6.60, and September KC wheat fell ½ to $7.02.
Cotton futures were slightly higher Thursday, but didn't get much of a lift from a report showing an uptick in U.S. cotton exports, as recent rains in top U.S. grower Texas brightened the outlook for next season's supplies. West Texas, where most of the Texas crop is grown, has been mired in a severe drought for more than two years. October cotton gained 92 to 84.99, and December new crop gained 118 to 84.95.
Gold futures climbed Thursday as some traders gleaned a dovish message from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's testimony to the Senate. August gold rose $6.70 to $1,284.20, and August silver fell 40 cents to $19.36.
U.S. crude oil prices vaulted to a 16-month high Thursday, rising with broader markets on signs of improving economic conditions in the U.S. August crude jumped $1.56 to $108.04 a barrel, August gasoline fell a fraction $3.10 a gallon, August distillates gained 2.95 cents to $3.10 a gallon.
Natural-gas prices jumped Thursday, after a government report revealed that the heat wave in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest was cutting into supply growth. Natural-gas futures rose 18.3 cents to $3.81.
On Wall Street, the Dow and the S&P ended at record closing highs on Thursday as Morgan Stanley and others reported better-than-expected earnings and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments further reassured markets. The Dow gained 78 to 15,548, the Nasdaq closed at 3,611, up 1 and the S&P 500 gained 8 to finish at 1,689.