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Demand Worries Push Cotton Futures Lower

Cattle futures ended the session sharply higher on Thursday, lifted by optimism over demand, which encouraged some short-covering after a steep price drop over the past month.

February live-cattle futures gained 277 to $161, April cattle rose 295 to $149, Feeder-cattle futures for March gained 332 to $200.

Hog futures, meanwhile, turned sharply lower, after jumping to the highest closing price in four weeks on Wednesday. April hogs slid 217 cents to 67.15, June hogs fell 135 to 82.62.

Grain and soybean futures gained Thursday, defying pressure from outside markets amid buying by investors and continued hopes for increased demand for U.S. crops.

Soybean prices surged to a seven-week high, advancing in part due to end-of-month buying by traders and financial investors who had been short the market, Corn futures rose after falling to a three-week low on Wednesday, buoyed by gains in the soybean market and month-end buying by investors. After struggling against the stronger U.S. dollar for much of the day, wheat futures rebounded, shored up in part by advances in the corn and soybean markets and better-than-expected export sales

March soybeans gained 16 1/4 to $10.24, March corn gained 4 1/4 to $3.80, March Chicago wheat added 5 1/2 to $5.03, and March KC wheat fell 1 to $5.27.

Cotton prices fell Thursday on investors’ concerns about overseas demand for U.S.-grown fiber.  May cotton fell 34 to 65.21, and the July contract dropped 26 to 65.64.

Gold prices rose Thursday but pared their gains for most the day as a stronger dollar eroded support from signs of demand for the precious metal in China.  April Gold rose $8.60 to $1,210.10, and May silver closed at $16.62, up 15 cents.

Oil prices slid to their lowest level in nearly a month Thursday as growing crude inventories weighed on the market. April crude fell $2.82 to $48.17 a barrel, Gasoline futures fell a fraction to $1.70 a gallon, and Diesel futures rose 6 cents to $2.13 a gallon.

Natural-gas prices sank to a two-week low Thursday after data showed weekly inventories fell far less than expected last week. April Natural gas plummeted immediately and settled down 16.5 cents at $2.69.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq resumed its recent advance on Thursday after deal news in the technology sector, while the Dow and S&P 500 dipped as energy shares sank with oil prices.  The Dow fell 10 to 18,214, the Nasdaq closed at 4,987, up 20 and the S&P 500 fell 3 to 2,110.'

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.