Market Recap: Livestock Futures Continue Gains on Increased Demand

U.S. livestock futures all surged upward Thursday, lifted by enduring signs of stronger demand from slaughterhouses and forecasts for tight supplies of beef later this year. Lean hog futures jumped Thursday to extend their current rally across five sessions. June hog closed up 92 at 87.42, July hogs rallied 112 or close at 88.75. June live cattle finished up 105 at $117, May feeder cattle finished up 77 at $150.

US wheat futures continued to lead a rally across grain and soy futures Thursday. Ongoing worries about an arid weather pattern stressing US winter wheat, Russian, and Chinese yields extended the short covering trend in wheat futures, analysts say. Soybeans trekked higher, fueled by fresh export demand with USDA announcing the ninth highest all-time daily sale of soybeans. Corn was dragged higher by the strength in wheat and soy, offsetting pressure from record projected output this year. July wheat in Chicago ended up 19 at $6.57, July wheat in KC gained 16 to close at $6.72, July soybeans ended up 16 at $14.38, and July corn finished 5 higher at $6.25.

Cotton futures ticked down at the end of the session to settle at a fresh low from July 2010 as big supplies, fewer export possibilities and a stronger dollar continue to weigh on the market. July cotton fell 32 to 76.65, and the October contract lost 75 to finish at 75.83.

Gold futures climbed on Thursday, rebounding from the previous day's 10-month lows as investors closed bets on falling prices on a pause in the currency turmoil caused by Europe's debt crisis. June gold rose $38.30 to $1,574.90 an ounce, July silver gained 74 cents to 27.94.

Operators of a pipeline that will flow crude from its Midwest storage hub to the Gulf Coast's refinery complex announced it will open the spigots this weekend. The move will reduce a vast glut of oil that has pooled in the middle of the country and narrowed the difference between the oil market's two benchmark contracts. Though the news was generally bullish for crude prices, the West Texas contract still fell on Thursday, dropping 25 cents to $92.56 a barrel, June gasoline fell 4.27 cents at $2.87 a gallon, and June distillates finished down 4.86 cents at $2.84 a gallon.

Natural gas futures prices dropped modestly on Thursday, as U.S. data showed a larger-than-expected rise in inventory last week. June Natural gas fell 2.4 cents to $2.59.

World stocks and oil prices fell on Thursday on concerns about the health of Spain's banks and the prospect of Greece leaving the euro zone. On Wall Street, the Dow fell 156 to close at 12,442, the Nasdaq closed at 2,813, down 60, and the S&P 500 fell 19 to close at 1,304. 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.