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Cotton Rises, Dollar Gains: Market Bits

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Soft commodities led the way in the commodities space Thursday, with cotton being one of the most noticeable gainers.

Cotton prices have nearly doubled in the last 12 months, driven by a number of weather, harvesting, competing crop, post-recession and country-specific or government-related issues.

Cotton for May delivery popped by the exchange limit of 7 cents, or 3.5%, to $2.076 a pound Thursday, hitting a five-day high.

"Cotton is creeping back toward recent highs, but we do not see the same buying conviction we saw on the previous upswing," Waverly Advisors strategist Andrew Barber said in a client note. "Existing longs should plan to aggressively protect profits if the bulls stumble and this market sells off."

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that net cotton Upland sales for the week ending Feb. 24 were up noticeably from the previous week and up 50% from the prior 4-week average.

The iPath Dow Jones-UBS Cotton Subindex Total Return ETN (BAL) finished Thursday's trading session at $108.08, up 1.7%.

The U.S. dollar was gaining against the Swiss franc Thursday, rising 0.8% at CHF 0.9312 as the Swiss franc retreated from a record high.

"As the rally remains overbought, we may see the USD/CHF consolidate heading into the end of the week," said the DailyFX Research Team. "In turn, the dollar-franc is likely to maintain a narrow range ahead of the U.S. employment report on Friday."

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