May 19, 2017 / 10:15 PM / 9 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Hogs, cattle rise about 1 pct on technical buying

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, May 19 (Reuters) - U.S. cattle and hog futures
gained about 1 percent on Friday, lifted by technical buying
despite declines this week in wholesale prices for beef and
pork, traders and analysts said.
    Live cattle         gained for the second straight session
as futures continued to recover from the roughly two-week low
reached on Tuesday. Lean hogs         hovered near Wednesday's
three-month highs.
    "Lean hog futures are showing little direction in thin,
choppy pre-weekend trading as chart resistance blocks the upside
and firm pork prices limit selling interest," analyst firm Brock
and Associates said in a client note.
    Chicago Mercantile Exchange June lean hogs        finished
0.350 cent higher at 79.500 cents per pound and most-active July
hogs        were up 0.900 cent to 80.175 cents per pound.  
    Investors continued to liquidate positions in front-month
hog and cattle contracts, resulting in bear-spreading gains.
    CME June live cattle futures        were up 0.525 cent at
123.450 cents per pound and most-active August        were up
1.400 cents to 121.050 cents per pound. 
    CME August feeder cattle        gained 1.100 cents to
150.450 cents per pound, while the thinly traded front-month May
contract was up 1.075 cents at 143.350 cents.
    Retailers have largely wrapped up meat buying for the beef
and pork they will put on sale next week ahead of the U.S.
Memorial Day holiday on May 29, the unofficial start of the
summer outdoor grilling season. 
    Wholesale beef and pork prices have likely peaked for the
season as the retailer buying slowed, analysts said.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture showed slightly lower
beef prices and slightly higher pork prices.                    
    "Beef has topped out for the moment," said Archer Financial
Services broker Dennis Smith. 
    He added that some investors were squaring up their
positions ahead of two USDA reports due next week - monthly Cold
Storage and Cattle on Feed, data that may trigger increased
volatility in futures.
    "Demand for pork has been outstanding. The cold storage
report could be the nudge" for higher prices, he said.

 (Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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