LIVESTOCK-U.S. cattle futures climb on monthly report

CHICAGO, April 26 (Reuters) - U.S. live cattle futures gained on Monday, supported by Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report that showed smaller-than-expected placements, traders said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange June live cattle futures settled 0.550 cent higher at 116.275 cents per pound while the August contract ended 1.100 cents higher at 117.950 cents.

“It wasn’t as large a number, relative to a year ago, as everyone thought,” said Alan Brugler, president of Brugler Marketing.

After the CME close on Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the number of cattle placed in U.S. feed lots during March was up 28% from a year earlier - lower than analyst predictions.

Feeder cattle futures were mixed, with CME August feeders adding 0.400 cent to close at 150.300 cents per pound, though nearby contracts slid as benchmark Chicago Board of Trade corn futures climbed to an eight-year high at $6.57-1/2 per bushel, indicating higher feed costs.

Boxed beef prices climbed on Monday, with choice cuts gaining $1.43 to $285.20 per cwt., while select cuts added $2.22 to 274.35 per cwt.

Cash cattle trade was steady, with trade ranging from $118 in Kansas to $121 in Nebraska late last week, according to the USDA.

Lean hogs continue climbing higher as pork demand is set to strengthen heading into the summer, while supply remains tight.

“You’re drawing down against current production, you don’t have any cushion in the cold storage and we’re going to get into the time period when we don’t have as large of a slaughter,” said Brugler.

CME June lean hogs gained 1.125 cents to 106.850 cents per pound.

The CME’s lean hog index, a two-day weighted average of cash prices, climbed to $106.51 per cwt, its highest since October 2014. (Reporting by Christopher Walljasper; Editing by Dan Grebler)