U.S. livestock: CME live cattle settle mixed, hogs firmer

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle April futures on Friday drew support from late-week cash price strength, while profit-taking weighed on the June contract, said traders.

Short-covering and technical buying underpinned deep-deferred trading months, they said.

April live cattle closed 1.325 cents/lb. higher at 117.075 cents (all figures US$). June ended down 0.05 cent, to 103.65 cents.

On Friday packers in Kansas and Nebraska paid $120-$122/cwt for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle that last week brought $114-$119. Earlier this week, a small number of cash cattle in the U.S. Plains fetched $116-$118.

Severe winter-like weather in the northern Plains, and already tight supplies in Nebraska, forced processors to compete for animals, a feedlot source said.

The forecast storm is “going to whack feedyards and hog farms from Nebraska to Iowa,” a feedlot manager said.

However, expectations for increased supplies in the coming months limited deferred-month live cattle market advances, said analysts and traders.

CME feeder cattle drew support from firmer back-month live cattle contracts. April feeders closed up 0.5 cent/lb. at 139.375 cents.

Hogs gain modestly

Except for CME April hog futures, which expired at noon CT, other contracts rose following recent cash price gains and Friday’s firmer wholesale pork values, said traders.

Some packers increased bids for hogs as heavy snow and cold temperatures enter parts of Iowa and Minnesota, which could delay livestock delivery to packing plants in the region.

“We’re hearing that a few packers are trying to fill up their pens before the storm hits, and at least one plant may not kill on Saturday,” a Midwest hog dealer said.

April hogs settled down 0.475 cent/lb. at 53.825 cents, nearly in line with CME’s two-day hog index for April 11 at 52.97 cents.

May closed up 0.375 cent at 69.7 cents. Most actively traded June ended 0.4 cent higher at 77.65 cents.

— Reporting for Reuters by Theopolis Waters in Chicago.

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