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Stocks were a bit higher on the day after strong earnings from Oracle and Research In Motion spurred a powerful tech rally.  A reversal in the dollar couldn’t keep stocks down.  Stocks closed higher on the day by 0.6%, but ended the week lower.  Daily Futures wraps up all the action:

Grains and Cotton
The USDA said that China bought 116,000 tons of U.S. soybeans for 2010-2011. March soybeans dropped a dime to $$10.20.

After the close, the USDA said that there were 11.282 million head of cattle on feed as of December 1st, down .6% from a year ago and less than expected. November placements were down 8.5% and marketings were up 3.6%. February cattle were up .30 at 84.85 ahead of the report.

After the close, the USDA estimated this week’s beef production at 487.6 million pounds, up 4.9% from a year ago. Pork production was estimated at 482.2 million pounds, up .9% from a year ago. February hogs closed down .42 at 65.12.

This afternoon, the USDA is scheduled to release its semi-annual estimates for the world coffee market, but so far, there appears to be technical difficulties. March coffee was down .0095 at $1.4525.

Cocoa futures are not for the faint of heart. On Wednesday, spot cocoa posted its highest close since 1979. Today, March cocoa dropped $173 to $3,251 – Is the up-trend over?

At first blush, the story sounds over-rated: Some Iranian troops crossed the border in southern Iraq and took over an abandoned oil field for several hours, but then returned home. Is there more to it? February crude oil closed up .34 at $74.42.

February natural gas ended up 2.9 cents at $5.829, supported by yesterday’s big drawdown in the weekly U.S. inventory report and forecasts for a winter storm along the eastern U.S. coast.

February gold closed up $4.10 at $1,111.50 with concerns about Iraq and Iran in the background.

The Bank of Japan met and kept the interest rate unchanged at .1%, as expected. They also made a special effort to say that they will not continue to tolerate deflation. The March yen finished down .0059 at 1.1064.

Statistics Canada said that wholesale sales were up .3% in October to C$41.1 billion, less than expected.