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Commodity Futures Ease on Export Concerns

Cattle futures slid Friday while hog prices bounced back from a midweek selloff, as the focus for traders in both markets returned to the current strength of demand for beef and pork.

A public dispute between the U.S. and Mexican presidents last week sparked fears among livestock traders that the top customer for American meat would soon ease imports, amid talks of renegotiating the current free trade agreement between the two countries.

February live cattle fell 37 to $118, April cattle dropped 25 to $117, and March feeders gained 35 to $127.

Meanwhile, in the hog markets, cash prices have steadily risen due in part to robust wholesale demand for pork in the U.S. and in major export markets.

February hog futures rose 105 to 66.90, and April gained 107 to 68.30

Grain and soybean futures moved lower Friday, buffeted by improved weather conditions in South America and concerns over U.S. trade policy under President Donald Trump.

Soybeans slipped to a fresh two-week low as the prospect of better weather in Argentina dampened speculation that major production problems in that country could lead to an uptick in demand for U.S. exports. Corn and wheat also lowered to end the week, weighed down by worries over the fate of U.S. food exports over the next four years.

March soybeans shed 1/4 to $10.49, March corn declined 1 1/4 to $3.62, March Chicago wheat fell 6 1/2 to $4.20, and March KC wheat dropped 6 to $4.34.

Cotton futures ended the week with gains.  The March contract gained 66 to 74.85, and May gained 69 to 75.39.

Oil futures eased on Friday, with strong drilling activity around the world, especially in the U.S., weighing on the market.

March  crude  settled down 61 cents to $53.17 a barrel, Gasoline futures lost 2 cents to $1.52 a gallon, and Diesel futures fell 2 cents to $1.62 a gallon.

Natural gas futures were divided Friday, with near-term futures rebounding from losses but futures for later months posting losses. February Natural gas gained less than a penny to $3.39.

On Wall Street, stocks edged lower for a second consecutive session on Friday as some underwhelming corporate earnings and gross domestic product data offset recent enthusiasm over policy actions by President Donald Trump.  The Dow fell 7 to 20,093, the Nasdaq closed at 5,660, up 5 and the S&P 500 fell almost 2 to 2,294.'

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.