Chicago | Reuters — U.S. live cattle futures were mixed on Friday, with the front-month contract firming slightly while deferreds eased as traders staked out positions ahead of the U.S. government’s closely watched inventory and Cattle on Feed reports.
Pre-report positioning also was noted in fed cattle and hog contracts, with both of those markets easing slightly. Lean hog futures hit fresh contract lows during the session but closed above those levels.
The U.S. Agriculture Department reports, released after the market close, were mostly in line with trade expectations.
Ranchers sent 1.3 per cent more cattle to U.S. feedlots during June than a year ago, according to Friday’s USDA monthly Cattle on Feed report, making it the most for the month since 2006.
Analysts said the report was neutral for futures action on Monday.
Friday’s U.S. government’s semiannual cattle inventory survey implied slower cattle herd growth, analysts said.
Most active CME October hogs settled down 0.95 cent at 51.275 cents/lb. while August hogs dropped 0.8 cent, to 66.45 cents.
CME August live cattle ended 0.025 cent higher at 108.925 cents/lb. CME October live cattle was off 0.4 cent at 110.25 cents.
CME August feeder cattle futures dropped 0.95 cent, to 153.5 cents/lb., and September feeders shed 0.4 cent, to 154.375 cents.
— Mark Weinraub is a Reuters commodities correspondent in Chicago.