January 4, 2018 / 11:30 PM / 10 months ago

LIVESTOCK-CME cattle dip on mild Plains outlook, East Coast snow

    By Karl Plume
    CHICAGO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures         turned lower on Thursday in a technical
selling and profit-taking setback and on concerns of a slowdown
in beef demand in the storm-hit eastern United States, traders
said.
    A winter storm continued its march up the U.S. East Coast on
Thursday, with blizzard warnings from North Carolina to Maine.
            
    The harsh weather along the East Coast followed severe cold
in cattle producing areas of the U.S. Plains which drove cattle
prices higher on worries about slowed weight gains at feedlots.
    Plains temperatures, however, are expected to turn warmer
over the coming days, prompting the market to shed its weather
risk premium.
    "The cold snap weather story is slowly subsiding. Amarillo,
Texas, is expected to be back up to 60 degrees in the coming
days," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.
    "And with the storm on the East Coast, any time we have our
top demand center not able to get to restaurants or grocery
stores, that's bearish," he added.
    Adding to the pressure was a weekly U.S. Department of
Agriculture report on Thursday that upwardly revised average
steer and heifer weights for cattle slaughtered two weeks ago.
That, Nelson said, muted the weight loss impact of the recent
frigid Plains weather.
    CME February live cattle futures         ended 0.700 cent
per pound lower at 122.250 cents, while April futures        
settled down 0.550 at 123.825 cents.
    Funds periodically sold, or "rolled," lead-month positions
into deferred months ahead of similar moves early next week.
    Monday will be the first of five days that funds in CME's
livestock markets, which track the Standard & Poor's Goldman
Sachs Commodity Index          , roll February long positions
primarily into the April and June contracts.
    Feeder cattle futures         followed live cattle lower,
propelled by technical selling and profit taking after posting
one-month highs early in the trading session.
    January feeders         settled down 0.350 cent per pound at
149.025 cents and actively traded March         ended down 1.275
at 145.550 cents.
    
    HOGS RISE
    CME lean hog futures         climbed for a second
consecutive session, supported by stronger cash market prices.
    Cash hogs in the closely followed Iowa and southern
Minnesota market traded $2.15 higher on Thursday after gaining
$1.99 the prior day, according to USDA.         
    February         hogs settled up 0.325 cent per pound at
71.375 cents. April         ended 0.675 cent higher at 76.100
cents.

 (Reporting by Karl Plume; Editing by Tom Brown)
  
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