Soybeans Down; Gold, Natural Gas Up
CHICAGO (AP) _ Soybean futures prices fell Friday on the Chicago Board of Trade, despite strong export sales. Uncertainty in the stock market and forecasts calling for weekend rains in dry areas of Brazil ahead of the planting season contributed to the slump.
In other markets, a weaker dollar and stock-market jitters pushed gold prices higher, and natural gas futures prices rebounded from Thursday’s sharp loss.
Forecasters are calling for scattered showers this weekend in the Midwest, possibly causing temporary harvest delays. But analysts did not expect a significant slowdown in the soybean harvest. Corn futures prices also fell due to increased farmer selling, weak exports and stock-market jitters. Wheat and oats futures rose.
A slumping stock market took some of the optimism away from commodity markets, said Don Roose at U.S. Commodities Inc., in West Des Moines, Iowa. But Roose said most of the decline in soybean prices resulted from the improved prospects for planting the crop in Brazil coupled with the continued smooth harvest of a big U.S. crop.
Wheat for December delivery rose 1 cent to $2.56 1/2 a bushel; December corn fell 1 3/4 cents to $1.99 1/4 a bushel; December oats rose 1 1/4 cents to $1.10 a bushel; and November soybeans fell 4 3/4 cents to $4.92 a bushel.
December gold regained some of its losses from Thursday, settling up $2.20 at $316.40 per troy ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had fallen Thursday to a 1 1/2-week low of $312 an ounce.
``Clearly there are a lot of people out there who want to buy gold,″ said analyst Jeffrey Christian of the CPM Group. ``Everytime the price falls below $320, you see some buying.″
And buyers are beginning to realize the price is more likely to rise than to fall, he said.
``A lot of people have been watching gold for a long time, waiting for something to convince them (that they have) seen a long-term bottom.″
Energy futures strengthened on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after weakening Thursday. Natural gas futures shot up 14.1 cents at $2.975 per 1,000 cubic feet amid forecasts for cooler-than-normal weather. Prices had fallen Thursday as Hurricane Irene appeared headed on a path that wouldn’t threaten the central and western Gulf of Mexico, center of most U.S. gas production.
Crude oil for November delivery rose 37 cents to $22.82 a barrel; November heating oil rose 1.05 cents to 59.56 cents a gallon; November unleaded gasoline rose 1.13 cents to 63.55 cents a gallon.
Beef prices fell and pork futures were mixed in trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
October live cattle fell 0.30 cent to 70.92 cents a pound; October feeder cattle fell 0.45 cent to 80.65 cents a pound; December lean hogs fell 0.30 cent to 47.10 cents a pound; and February frozen pork bellies rose 1.10 cents to 65.40 cents a pound.