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Oil Prices Drop With Syria Tensions Easing

U.S. hog futures were mixed, supported in the spot contract by steady pork demand and strong cash hog values. October hogs rose 0.5 cent, or 0.5% to 90.7 cents a pound. The December contract shed 0.02 cent, or 0.02%, to 87.25 cents a pound.

U.S. live-cattle futures ended the day higher, supported by steady prices for cattle in cash markets. Market watchers anticipated packers would bid for cattle less aggressively this week, but steady beef demand and slight gains in cattle futures for the week emboldened cattle owners to continue pressing for higher prices. CME October live cattle picked up 0.42 cent, or 0.3%, to $1.2525 a pound. December live cattle advanced 0.52 cent, or 0.4%, to $1.2915 a pound.

Feeder cattle also rose, extending gains on a downward slump in corn prices, following a USDA forecast for record-large harvests this year for the grain. Cheaper costs for the most widely used feed ingredient could encourage feedyards to pay higher prices for young cattle, analysts said. The most-active October contract gained 0.27 cent, or 0.2%, to $1.573 a pound.

Wheat futures mostly declined Friday, pressured by lower corn prices and rainfall in Kansas that will be favorable for planting of the winter variety of the grain. CBOT December wheat, the most-active contract, fell 11 1/2 cents, or 1.8%, to $6.41 1/2 a bushel.

Soybean futures for November delivery, the most-active contract, fell 14 1/2 cents, or 1%, to $13.81 1/2 a bushel.

U.S. corn futures declined Friday, touching a fresh three-year low, a day after government forecasters projected a bigger harvest this fall than analysts had expected. Chicago Board of Trade corn for September delivery, which was lightly traded as it expired at midday Friday, sunk 29 cents, or 6%, to $4.50 a bushel as traders liquidated positions. That marked the lowest intraday price since September 2010. Corn for December delivery, the most-actively traded contract, declined 7 1/4 cents, or 1.6%, to $4.59 a bushel.

U.S. oil prices finished lower Friday, registering their worst weekly decline since late July, as diplomatic talks concerning Syria weakened the chances of a potential military strike. Light, sweet crude for October delivery settled 39 cents, or 0.4%, lower to $108.21 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, capping their worst week since the week ending July 26. Front-month October reformulated gasoline blendstock, or RBOB, rose 0.69 cent, or 0.3%, to $2.7696 a gallon. October heating oil declined 0.27 cent to $3.1137 a gallon.

Natural-gas futures prices climbed 1.1% to settle at a nine-day high on Friday, as traders sought cover against potential shifts in tropical storms and late summer temperatures in the Midwest. October-delivery natural gas on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled 3.9 cents higher, at $3.677 per million British thermal units.

Gold futures fell Friday to their lowest price in five weeks as investors anticipated the Federal Reserve's upcoming meeting would set the stage for winding down its economic-stimulus program. The most active contract, for December delivery, settled $22, or 1.7%, lower at $1,308.60 a troy ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. This was the lowest settlement since Aug. 7 and down 5.6% from last Friday's close.

A strong week for Wall Street closed with the Dow Jones Industrials gaining 75 on Friday to close at 15376. Nasdaq gained 6 points to 3772, and the S&P 500 rose 4 to 1687. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.