U.S. livestock: CME live cattle up 3rd straight day; hogs slide

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle rose for a third day in a row Monday on short-covering and positioning before the Christmas holiday, traders said.

CME live cattle drew more support from buy stops and fund buying after February and April surpassed their respective 10-day moving averages of 160.64 cents and 160.18 cents.

December closed 1.100 cents per lb higher at 161.850 cents, February up 0.725 cents to 160.825 cents and April 0.550 cent higher at 160.225 cents.

Market bulls said recent futures advances, and the morning’s wholesale beef price upswing, may underpin this week’s cash prices.

On Monday, a few market-ready or cash cattle bids surfaced in Kansas at $159 per hundredweight (cwt), feedlot sources said. Last week, cash cattle in the U.S. Plains moved at $156 to $160.

Monday morning’s choice wholesale beef price gained 66 cents per cwt from Friday to $239.23. Select was up 49 cents to $230.37, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Bearish traders contend that packing plants closed over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and generally tepid wholesale beef demand could keep a lid on cash prices.

USDA’s monthly cold storage report will be released at 2 p.m. CST (2000 GMT) to include November total beef and pork inventories.

Analysts, on average, forecast beef and pork stocks totaled 386.2 million lbs and 497.9 million lbs, respectively.

CME feeder cattle ended higher in thin volume, with helped from buy stops and live cattle market advances.

January closed up 0.350 cent per lb at 220.500 cents, and March 1.000 cents higher at 218.975 cents.

Cash leads hogs lower

CME hogs ended lower, pressured by sell stops and falling prices for slaughter-ready or cash hogs, traders said.

February closed down 1.650 cents per lb to 80.250 cents, and April 0.650 cent lower at 82.550 cents.

USDA showed Monday morning’s average price of hogs in the Iowa/Minnesota market at $74.53 per cwt in light volume, $2.85 lower than on Friday.

Several packers have all the hogs they need before shutting down plants at least one day each week during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays.

Processors are expected to post a Saturday slaughter over 270,000 head to make up for plant being idle this week, according to hog dealers.

Investors exercised caution before USDA’s quarterly hog report on Tuesday.

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