Market Recap: Disappointing Unemployment Data Scuttles Commodities

Cattle futures reversed Thursday’s rally as a disappointing US jobs report sparked broad selling across stock and commodity markets. June cattle closed down 50 to $115 a day after rising by their 300 point daily limit, sparked by strong exports in the wake of a mad-cow case. August futures finished close to unchanged at $118.

Lean hog futures faced drastic losses as outside market selling and weak wholesale pork prices tripped technical triggers and drew in more exits. May hogs closed down 150 at 79.80, a fresh 16-month low. June hogs fall 120 to 83.72.

Near-term corn futures closed higher on strong cash basis and export demand while deferred contracts fell on a favorable start to the US growing season. That led May corn up 11 1/2 to $6.62. Soybeans also climbed, with the May contract rising 6 1/4 to $14.75 and helping soy meal gain $6.90 to $432.10. But soy oil fell 5 to 53.30 amid the slump in crude-oil prices. Wheat futures were broadly lower, with May wheat in Chicago down 4 1/2 at $6.03, and May wheat in KC fell 7 to close at $6.13.

New York cotton futures took a dive in late-day trading Friday as a stronger dollar and weak outside markets weighed on prices. July cotton fell 122 to 87.99, and the October contract lost 103 to finish the week at 87.99.

Gold futures settled higher Friday on disappointing U.S. economic data that renewed talk of stimulus, ending a three-day slide. June gold gained $10.40 to $1,645.20 an ounce, and Jul silver closed at $30.43 up 42.2 cents.

Oil futures tumbled to their lowest level in three months Friday, blowing through $100 a barrel and continuing on down, in a rout spurred by a weaker-than-expected reading on U.S. employment in April. June crude plunged $4.05 to $98.49 a barrel, June gasoline dropped 7.42 cents to $2.97 gallon, its lowest settlement since Feb. 10, and June distillates fell 7.81 cents to $3.00 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures finished down Friday as traders booked profits after a sharp five-day rally on initial signs of a shrinking supply glut. June Natural gas finished down 6.9 cents at $2.27.

Wall Street was set for its worst week this year on Friday after a disappointing jobs report heightened concerns that the economic recovery is heading for a slowdown. The Dow fell 168 to close at 13,038, the Nasdaq closed at 2,956, down 67, and the S&P 500 dropped 22 to close at 1,369. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.