Lean hog futures followed cattle higher and gained additional help from a rise in wholesale pork prices, which have suffered all spring from weak demand and rising global supplies. May hog futures managed to end a five-day selloff closing up 2 at 81.30, June hogs gained 47 to close at 84.92.
Signs that U.S. beef exports are stable in the wake of a recent finding of mad-cow disease sparked a rally in cattle futures on Thursday that also lifted a beaten-down market in lean hog futures. August cattle closed up 275 to $118, August feeders closed limit up at $157.
US soy futures fell Thursday, slumping to one-week lows as technically based chart weakness put a damper on optimism that a four month-long rally could extend its upward course in the near term. July Soybeans closed down 11 1/4 at $14.68 Corn and wheat ended higher, with strong cash basis amid tight corn supplies underpinning prices. July corn ended up 3 at $6.14, and July wheat in Chicago ended up 1 1/4 to $6.08, and July wheat in KC gained2 ½ to $6.33.
ICE cotton edged down in thin trading though the USDA reported net sales cancellations last week as prices continue to be buoyed by the idea that China could soon re-enter the market. July cotton fell 30 to 89.21, and the October contract fell 18 to close at 88.85.
Gold futures ended lower Thursday after the European Central Bank indicated imminent stimulus was unlikely and amid caution ahead of upcoming U.S. employment data. June gold fell $19.20 to $1,634.80, and Jul silver closed at $30.01, down 63.5 cents.
U.S. oil futures tumbled to their lowest level in two weeks Thursday, while the main European benchmark slid to its weakest finish since February, weighed down by a slew of disappointing economic data. June crude fell $2.68 to $102.54 a barrel, June gasoline fell 2.57 cents to $3.05 a gallon, and June distillates fell 5.56 cents to $3.08 a gallon.
Natural gas futures rose Thursday after U.S. gas inventories posted a smaller build than normal for this time of year, another signal of higher demand amid slowing gas production. Natural gas for June delivery rose 8.7 cents to $2.34.
On Wall Street, Global stocks fell on Thursday after data showing tepid growth in the U.S. services sector raised concerns about the economic recovery a day before a highly anticipated labor market report for April. The Dow fell 61 to 13,206, the Nasdaq closed at 3,024, down 35, and the S&P 500 dropped 10 to close at 1,391.