Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hogs closed lower Thursday on profit-taking and fund selling that erased Wednesday’s gains, traders said.
December closed down one cent per pound at 90.775 cents, and February 0.75 cent lower at 90.9 cents (all figures US$).
Anticipation of weaker-trending cash and wholesale pork prices stirred bear spreads, which consisted of investors who sold the December contract and simultaneously bought back months.
Hog supplies are sufficient and grocers booked enough hams to feature during the Thanksgiving holiday, traders and analysts said.
Slaughter-ready, or cash, hogs in the Midwest traded steady to weak, said regional hog dealers.
The morning’s wholesale pork price was up 49 cents per hundredweight (cwt) from Wednesday to $93.13, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
USDA will issue the monthly cold storage report on Friday at 2 p.m. CT, including total October beef and pork inventories.
A few analysts forecast an average October inventory total of 371.1 million lbs. for beef and 537.7 million for pork.
Live cattle mixed
CME live cattle futures settled mixed on positioning before this week’s cash prices and Friday’s USDA monthly Cattle-On-Feed report.
Most analysts expect Friday’s report to show October cattle placements declined year-over-year.
December closed down 0.575 cent/lb. at 170.25 cents, and February 0.475 cent lower at 171.825 cents. April ended up 0.1 cent at 170.3 cents, and June 0.825 cent higher at 162 cents.
Market-ready (cash) cattle bids in Kansas surfaced at $167 to $168/cwt versus sellers in the state and elsewhere asking more than $173, feedlot sources said. Last week, some cattle topped a record $172.
Solid wholesale beef values and less cattle for sale could put a floor beneath cash prices, an analyst said.
Unprofitable margins and plant closures for the Thanksgiving holiday might limit cash spending.
CME feeder cattle ended lower, pressured by sell stops and higher corn prices.
November, which expired at noon CT, settled down 0.125 cent/lb. at 240.425 cents, and January, the new lead contract, 1.525 cents lower at 235.575 cents.
— Theopolis Waters reports on livestock futures markets for Reuters from Chicago.