Frozen concentrated orange juice futures prices soared Thursday on the Cotton Exchange in New York because of revised, lower harvest estimates from South America.
On other markets, soybeans rose while corn and wheat fell; livestock and meat futures prices were mixed to slightly lower; precious metals were mixed, and energy futures prices were mostly lower.
Orange juice prices reached new life-of-contract highs, the third day this week that contract highs were set.
Analysts said prices were supported by news that the Agriculture Department late Wednesday had cut its estimate of Brazil's orange crop from 240 million boxes to 230 million because of dry weather in that country.
"The market just acted bullishly to that news, and it stayed that way all day," said Judy Ganes, an analyst in New York with Shearson Lehman Bros.
Orange juice settled 0.370 cent to 1.00 cent higher, with the contract for delivery in January at $1.6375 a pound.
Soybean futures prices closed higher, but corn and wheat were mostly lower on the Chicago Board of Trade.
Most of the activity was in the soybean pit, where prices rallied strongly in the afternoon on rumors that the Soviets soon will be buying a large amount of U.S. soy meal, traders said.
Shortly after the closing bell, the Agriculture Department announced that 700,000 tons of soy meal had been sold to the Soviets.
Generally light trading in the grain pits was attributed to the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, a traditional time for the CBOT to follow the normal slowdown on farmers' cash markets, said Steve Freed, a grains analyst in Chicago with Dean Witter Reynolds.
Wheat settled 2.5 cents to 5 cents lower, with the contract for delivery in December at $2.93 a bushel; corn was 1 cent lower to 0.50 cent higher, with December at $1.8575 a bushel; oats were 1 cent lower to 2.50 cents higher, with December at $2 a bushel, and soybeans were 2 cents to 7.75 cents higher, with January at $5.785 a bushel.
Livestock and meat futures prices were mixed to slightly lower on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
Cattle prices for contracts for delivery in nearby months were supported by tight supplies of well-finished cattle, while deferred contract prices were weakened by the uncertain economic picture ahead, analysts said.
Pork prices were depressed by heavy farmer marketings and lighter packer demands, said Chuck Levitt, a livestock specialist in Chicago with Shearson Lehman.
Live cattle settled 0.23 cent lower to 0.27 cent higher, with the contract for delivery in December at 66.17 cents a pound; feeder cattle were 0.23 cent to 0.60 cent lower, with November at 75.62 cents a pound; live hogs were 0.05 cent higher to 0.28 cent lower, with December at 43.77 cents a pound, and frozen pork bellies were unchanged to 0.77 cent lower, with February at 53.70 cents a pound.
Gold futures prices were higher but silver prices were off in quiet trading on the Commodity Exchange in New York.
"During the past few days, there has been incredibly narrow trading, with daily ranges of between $2 and $3. The market is waiting for fresh news," said Steve Chronowitz, an analyst in New York with Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.
Gold settled 90 cents to $1 higher, with the contract for delivery in November at $465 an ounce, and silver was 4.8 cents to 5.1 cents lower, with November at $6.58.
Energy futures prices were mostly lower in light trading on New York Mercantile Exchange.
"It's been a no-nothing day, with profit taking after yesterday's reversal," Peter Cardillo, commodity trading adviser in New York for Joseph Dahl & Co., said.