U.S. hog futures pared losses into the close Thursday, but still ended the session lower as traders scaled back bullish bets ahead of a closely watched quarterly supply report due out today. Hog futures have been pushed to new contract highs this week amid growing concern that death loss due to porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, or PEDV, is greater than previously anticipated, while pork demand remains strong. October hogs slid 9 to 92.80, December hogs fell 87 to 87.72.
Feeder-cattle futures, meanwhile, jumped to new contract highs in the nearby contracts, lifted by concerns that there are too few young cattle available to keep up with the pace of beef demand, particularly in export markets. September feeder-cattle added 87 to $159, a fresh all-time high for the spot contract. The October contract also made a new high, jumping 145 to $164.
Wheat futures rose on Thursday, the fourth straight increase, on signs of improved demand for supplies held in the U.S., the world's biggest exporter of the grain. Corn also rose while soybeans fell. December wheat in Chicago were up 7 3/4 to $6.78, December KC wheat gained 9 to $7.27, December Corn gained 2 to $4.56, November Soybeans fell 5 to $13.16.
Cotton prices firmed Thursday in light trade. December cotton gained 82 85.47, and the March contract gained 76 to 85.18.
Gold prices fell Thursday as a rebounding labor market fanned worries of a swifter end to Federal Reserve stimulus efforts. December gold fell $12.10, to $1,324.10, December silver closed at $21.76, down 12 cents.
U.S. oil futures finished higher Thursday as traders paused following a five-session losing streak that was fueled by easing concerns over possible Middle East supply disruptions. November crude gained 37 cents to $103.03 a barrel, October gasoline gained 3.21 cents to $2.70 a gallon, and October distillates rose 3.06 cents to $3.00 a gallon.
Natural gas futures eked out a gain Thursday, wiping out an early loss, as investors snapped up bargains ahead of the front-month contract expiration. October Natural gas gained a fraction to $3.49.
On Wall Street, stocks ended up on Thursday, with the S&P 500 snapping a five-day losing streak, on positive data about the labor market. The Dow gained 55 to 15,328, the Nasdaq closed at 3,787, up 26, and the S&P 500 gained almost 6 to close at 1,698.