USDA Report Scuttles Soybean Futures

Hog futures extended losses Thursday despite a closely watched government report that showed the nation’s total pork stocks dropped from a year ago.

April lean hogs dropped 117 for April delivery to close at 66.57, and My fell 52 to 72.87.

Live cattle futures for February rose 177 to end at $123, the fourth session of gains for the front-month contract and the highest close in two weeks, but the back-month contracts rose less.  April live cattle gained 45 to $116, and March feeders gained 5 to $125.

Grain and oilseed futures plummeted on Thursday on information from a USDA report that said US farmers are gearing up to sow more soybean than ever before, betting on the oilseeds to keep them afloat as farm incomes drop for the fourth consecutive year. Even though those bean acres will come from corn and wheat to some extent, the oilseed futures dragged the others lower.

March soybeans fell 11 ¼ to $10.11, March corn fell 5 ½ to $3.65, March Chicago wheat fell 3 ¼ to $4.38, and March KC wheat closed unchanged at $4.57.

May Cotton rose 61 to end at 76.10, despite a USDA report that showed U.S. plantings are expected to rise this year by 1.4 million acres to 11.5 million acres, a four-year high. Cotton futures have been bucking recently bearish fundamentals and are a favored bet among bullish speculators.  July cotton gained 40 to 76.92.

Oil futures settled at their highest level in more than a year and a half as federal data showed U.S. crude glut grew more slowly than expected last week.

April crude futures rose 86 cents to $54.45 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 1.53 cents to $1.52 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose 2.71 cents to $1.65 a gallon.
Natural-gas futures pared gains but still settled higher Thursday after federal data showed a larger-than-anticipated draw from stockpiles. March Natural gas rose 2.5 cents to $2.61.

On Wall Street, stocks edged higher on Thursday, buoyed by energy stocks and a renewed pledge by President Donald Trump to chief executives of major U.S. companies to bring back millions of jobs to the United States.  The Dow gained 34 to 20,810, the Nasdaq closed at 5,835, down 25 and the S&P 500 gained a fraction to 2,363.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.