Market Recap: Hog Futures Continue to Defy Gravity
U.S. lean-hog futures continued to defy expectations on Thursday as they rose through en-masse selling in stock and commodity markets, lifted by a sharp tightening of supplies of slaughter-ready hogs. July hogs gained 85 to close at 95.60, and the August contract fell 2 to 92.12.
Live-cattle futures slid with outside stock and commodity markets as investors fretted about a slowing global economy. June live cattle lost 60 to close at $116, August feeders fell 10 to $152.
U.S. spot corn futures plunged Thursday, fueled by a plethora of negative influences, ranging from a gloomy world economy and slumping demand. Weather was a driving force behind price weakness as well. Heavier than expected overnight rains across the western corn-belt eased fears of crop damage from dryness. July corn dropped 25 1/4 to $5.86.
Separately, soybeans and wheat fell also, as broader based weakness across some asset classes overshadowed supportive demand. July soybeans fell 8 to $14.38, July wheat in Chicago fell 2 1/4 to $6.61, and July Wheat in KC dropped 3 1/2 to $6.83.
Cotton futures were locked by the exchange-permitted lower limit on Thursday as traders cashed in on a recent price rise and doubts over demand weighed on the market. Worries of an economic slowdown in China, the world's top consumer of cotton, added more fuel to a selloff in the New York futures market.
July Cotton fell the expanded 500 point limit to 78.71 on the heels of the recent rally. December cotton lost 484 to 69.20.
Precious metals slumped on Thursday, with silver settling at a 16-month low after a set of weak economic data limited demand for the metal both as an inflation hedge and an industrial raw material. July silver fell $1.55 to $26.83, Gold also slumped on the day, falling $50.30 to $1,565.50 an ounce.
Crude oil futures settled below $80 a barrel Thursday for the first time since October as the oil markets were hit by a host of factors, including fresh signs of anemic industrial activity. August crude closed at $78.20 per barrel, down $3.25,
Natural-gas futures jumped Thursday after weekly government data showed a smaller-than-expected rise in U.S. gas inventories, though a slump across broader markets kept a lid on gains. July Natural gas gained 6.5 cents to $2.58.
On Wall Street, stocks posted the worst day in three weeks on Thursday on mounting evidence that slowing manufacturing growth worldwide threatened corporate profits. The Dow lost 250 to close at 12,573, the Nasdaq closed at 2,859, down 71, and the S&P 500 fell 30 to 1,325.