Cattle futures slid despite a surge in prices meatpackers paid in the cash markets early Wednesday, as traders remain cautious about the strength of demand. February live cattle dropped 117 to $118, the April contract fell 110 to $117, and March feeders fell 275 to $127.
Hog futures followed the lead of cattle futures down on Thursday with the February contract falling 167 to 65.85, and April dropping 292 to 67.22.
Corn and soybean futures dropped Thursday as optimism over South American harvests overshadowed signs of better-than-expected demand for some crops. Wheat rose.
Soybeans fell to a two-week low amid speculation that drier weather would relieve fields in Argentina recently flooded by heavy rainfall, allowing farmers to sow some acres thought to be lost, as well as benefiting other newly planted crops. Corn also slid on concerns of large crops in the offing in South America, which outstripped signs of robust export demand for U.S. supplies, and Wheat gained, buoyed in part by better-than-expected demand.
March Soybeans fell 5 3/4 to $10.49, March corn fell 2 1/2 to $3.63, March Chicago wheat advanced 2 1/2 to $4.27, and March KC wheat gained 2 ½ to $4.40.
Cotton futures continued to hang on to early week gains with the March contract gaining 31 to 74.19, and May gaining 18 to 74.70.
Oil futures rose Thursday, as traders shrugged off another big jump in U.S. oil inventories and remained focused on promised production cuts.
March crude gained $1.03 to $53.78 a barrel, Gasoline futures rose 1.89 cents to $1.54 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose 2.95 cents to $1.64 a gallon.
Natural gas prices climbed Thursday after weekly data showed natural gas storage levels remained low despite mild weather. February Natural gas gained 5 cents to $3.38.
Stocks on Wall Street were little changed on Thursday as investors paused following a two-day rally that pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average above the 20,000 mark, while the latest wave of earnings rolled in. The Dow gained 32 to 20,100, the Nasdaq closed at 5,655, down 1 and the S&P 500 also fell 1 to 2,296.