Hog futures tumbled to a fresh four-year low Thursday, as the U.S. dollar extends a climb, raising concerns about demand for domestic hams, loins, and other pork products.
February hogs fell by the limit before recovering modestly, slipping 297 on the day to 68.55, April hogs fell 175 to 73.20.
The cattle market ended the session under pressure from selling across the livestock markets.
February live-cattle trimmed early gains, sliding 42 to $153, March Feeder-cattle futures for declined fell 77 to $203.
Soybean futures fell further Thursday to settle at their lowest level in about three months. Corn also fell, while wheat closed higher.
March soybean sank 2 to $9.68, the contracts’ lowest closing price since Oct. 22, weighed by a continued drop in soybean oil contracts.
March Corn closed down 1 3/4 at $3.71, pushed lower by concerns around overseas demand for U.S. grain and fund managers’ bearish bets.
Chicago wheat futures got a lift as traders’ selling pressure on the grain relented, making it the first daily gain for wheat futures since Jan. 20. March wheat gained 2 1/2 to $5.07, and March KC wheat gained 8 ¼ to $5.44.
Cotton was a hot commodity last week as merchants sold a net 546,174 bales of the upland-variety fiber abroad, the most since the season began and the biggest weekly amount since October 2013. But prices are only up slightly. A large part of the reason is global stockpiles continue to swell. March cotton gained 13 to 59.57, and the May contract gained 12 to 60.35.
Gold prices saw their sharpest drop in more than a year Thursday, as investors interpreted the Federal Reserve’s comments from a day before to be on the hawkish side, denting the case for owning the precious metal. April gold closed down $31.30 at $1,255.90, March silver also skidded, ending down $1.31 at $16.77.
Oil prices made small gains in topsy-turvy trading that had briefly sent the market to nearly a six-year low Thursday. Bottom-pickers and sellers concerned about oversupply battled for control of a market that has fallen about 60% in six months. March crude gained 8 cents to $44.53 a barrel, February gasoline gained 2 cents to $1.36 a gallon, and February diesel gained 2 cents to $1.62 a gallon.
Natural gas closed at its lowest price in more than two years after federal data showed U.S. storage levels fell far less than expected last week. March nat gas fell 12.3 cents to $2.71.
Stocks on Wall Street finished up in a volatile session on Thursday, helped by firmer oil prices, even as mixed corporate news and confusion over U.S. monetary policy left investors anxious about which way to turn. The Dow gained 213 to 17,404, the Nasdaq closed at 4,680, up 42, and the S&P 500 gained 18 to 2,020.