Hog futures rose on strong pork demand Friday despite a government report showing the U.S. herd swelling to the largest on record for this time of year. U.S. Department of Agriculture said late Thursday that the number of hogs and pigs nationally as of June 1 rose 3% from the same time last year to 71.7 million head, the highest since estimates began in 1964. Cattle futures were little changed after a mixed week marked by a continued slide in cash prices.
July Lean hogs climbed 115 to 90.62, and the August contract gained 300 to 83.75.
August live cattle fell 20 to $116, the October contract gained 22 to $115, and August feeders gained 75 to $147.
Corn futures gained after federal estimates for planted corn acres came in above analyst expectations, potentially offering a buffer in case of adverse weather during the growing season. Soybeans jumped after the USDA’s estimate for planted acreage missed analyst guesses, though it still marks record area for the oilseeds.
July corn gained 10 ¾ to $3.70, July soybeans jumped 26 ¾ to $9.42, July Chicago wheat gained 30 ¾ to $5.11, and July KC wheat gained 30 ¾ to $5.11.
Cotton futures saw a minimal benefit from Friday’s USDA reports with the October contract gaining 131 to 70.36, and December new crop jumping 135 68.59.
Oil reached one of its longest winning streaks in years with signs of pullbacks in U.S. production leading some to claim the flagging market may have hit a turning point. August crude settled up $1.11 at $46.04 a barrel, Gasoline futures gained 2.96 cents to $1.51 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose 2.95 cents to $1.47 a gallon.
Natural gas futures pared back about half of the gains they had posted to start the week, with a second-straight losing session Friday tied to momentum and fears of oversupply.
August Natural gas lost a fraction to $3.03
On Wall Street, stocks on Friday ended a volatile week on a modestly high note, boosted by Nike’s well-received quarterly report, with the S&P 500 tallying its best first half of the year since 2013. The Dow gained 62 to 21.349, the Nasdaq dropped 4 to 6,140, and the S&P 500 gained 3 to 2,323.