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Cattle & Hog Futures Soar on NAFTA News

Livestock futures leaped on Thursday as traders took stock of the Trump administration’s shifting position on trade with its neighbors. Concern that the U.S. could leave the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico and Canada were unwilling to renegotiate the deal has roiled livestock trading this week. Prices rose Thursday after the White House said it did not plan on leaving the agreement soon, though some market participants continued to bet defensively. Both markets are also benefiting from rising cash prices.

June Lean hogs rose 207 to 72.82, July gained 227 to 74.02.

April live cattle futures rose 357 to $135, June closed limit up at $121, and May feeders also closed limit up at $146.

Grain futures rose on Thursday as cold, wet weather battered key growing regions. Any sign that weather would help limit what is expected to be another bumper crop this year would be welcome to traders. Heavy rain in parts of the Midwest would delay corn planting and decrease soft red wheat quality.  Soybean prices were steady despite strong export sales.

Concern about potential Trump administration action on the North American Free Trade Agreement has limited price advances. Grain and soybean futures fell Wednesday on speculation that the U.S. was poised to begin its withdrawal from the deal, but prices bounced after a White House statement late Wednesday that it would seek to renegotiate the terms of trade first.

May Corn rose 3 to $3.62, while May Chicago wheat futures rose 5 ¾  to $4.13, May KC wheat gained 8 ½ to $4.20, and May soybeans closed unchanged at $9.45

Cotton futures fell Thursday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported a sharp drop in last week’s export sales.  July cotton fell 143 to 77.96, and the October contract dropped 84 to 75.78.

Oil prices fell to a one-month low Thursday amid mixed U.S. inventory data and increasing concerns that a supply action by major producers may not be sufficient to clear a global surplus.  June crude fell 65 cents to $48.97 a barrel, May gasoline fell 3 cents to $1.56 a gallon, and May diesel dropped 2 cents to $1.51 a gallon.

Natural gas futures fell Thursday, as inventory data showed a larger-than-expected build in storage levels amid mild weather.

June nat gas fell 3.2 cents to $3.23.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq Composite ended at a record high on Thursday, boosted by results-related gains in Comcast, PayPal and Intuit, while the S&P 500 and the Dow were little changed.  The Dow gained 6 to 20,981, the Nasdaq closed at 6,048, up 23, and the S&P 500 gained 1 to 2,388.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.