Hogs, Cattle Gain Slightly

US lean-hog futures ended slightly higher amid short-covering and caution ahead of the USDA's cold-storage report after the markets closed. April lean hogs gained 42 to 85.40, the May contract jumped 42 as well to $94.10.

Live cattle futures ended slightly higher amid firm cash market prices. April live cattle ended up 3 at $125, while April feeder cattle closed up 5 at $153.

US wheat futures end higher, boosted by market participants exiting short positions to profit from lower prices earlier in the day, May wheat in Chicago gained 10 to $6.46, while May wheat in KC gained 9 to $6.84.

US corn futures ended higher, managing to stabilize after declining for the past three days. May corn ended up 2 1/2 to $6.44

US soybean futures ended lower, pressured by disappointing weekly export data and worries about weaker Chinese demand. May soybeans ended down 5 1/2 at $13.49, May soy meal rose $0.30 to $370.10, and May soy oil end down 42 to 53.96.

Cotton futures made significant gains after receiving better-than-expected USDA export sales data for the second week in a row. May cotton gained 127 to close at $89.58, and the July contract jumped 115 to close at $90.23.

Gold futures settled lower as investors worried about slower demand from India following recent increases in gold import taxes. India is the world's largest gold consumer, purchasing over 900 metric tons of gold in 2011. Apr gold closed at $1,642.50, down $7.80, and May Silver fell 88.2 cents at $31.34.

Crude oil futures fell to settle at a one-week low Thursday on fears of a potential slowdown in oil demand in China, the world's second-biggest oil consumer. May crude fell $1.92 to $105.35 a barrel, April gasoline closed at $3.33 a gallon, down 1.75 cents, and April distillates closed at $3.17 a gallon, down 3.75 cents.

Natural gas futures were down 6.5c At $2.295/MMBtu on inventory data.

Wall Street closed with red numbers Thursday, with the Dow losing 78 and closing at 13046. The Nasdaq finished at 3036, down 12. The S&P lost 10 points to 1392.

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