CME live cattle futures firm; hogs trade mixed

Thu May 8, 2014 9:30am EDT

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May 8 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle
gained slightly on Thursday, supported by short-covering and
futures' discount to last week's cash prices, traders said.
    * Thursday is the second of five days in which funds that
follow the Standard & Poor's Goldman Sachs Commodity Index will
sell, or "roll," their June long CME live cattle and hog
positions into deferred months.
    * U.S. Department of Agriculture export data on Thursday for
the week ended May 1 showed U.S. beef sales at 12,500 tonnes,
mostly to Japan, compared with 11,400 tonnes the week before.   
    * At 8:18 a.m. CDT (1318 GMT), June was up 0.200 cent
per lb at 137.775 cents, and August gained 0.100 cent to
137.500 cents.
    * Investors are anticipating market-ready, or cash, cattle
to trade steady to lower this week.
    * More animals are for sale and some packers have cut
slaughter rates to conserve margins, an analyst said.
    * Soft wholesale beef demand could work against cash cattle
returns, he said.
    * Cash cattle bids in Texas and Kansas stood at $144 per
hundredweight (cwt), feedlot sources said. 
    * Last week, cash cattle in Texas and Kansas sold at $146
per cwt, with sales of $147 to $150 in Nebraska. 

    * FEEDER CATTLE - May was at 183.500 cents, up 0.475
cent per lb, and August was 0.650 cents higher at
191.325.
    * Modest CME live cattle gains and weak corn prices lifted
feeder cattle futures.
    
    * LEAN HOGS - May lean hogs were at 114.625 cents per
lb, down 0.600 cent. Most actively traded June was up
0.100 cent at 121.275 cents.
     * Wednesday's lower cash hog and wholesale pork prices
pressured the May CME hog contract, traders said.
     * Packers have met their supply needs for this week, and
grocers are buying pork hand-to-mouth for spring grilling
advertisements, a trader said.
     * Mechanical problems idled an eastern Midwest hog plant,
which could take about 10,000 head out of the total U.S 
slaughter, traders and hog dealers said. 
     * Speculators bought remaining hog futures in anticipation
of tight supplies as the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus
spreads on U.S. hog farms.
     * Investors are looking for pork demand to pick up to
accommodate outdoor cookouts after Mother's Day, he said. 
     * USDA's export data showed U.S. pork sales at 9,600
tonnes, mostly to Mexico, compared with 9,800 tonnes the week
before.

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Additional reporting
by Meredith Davis; editing by Peter Galloway)
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