LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle ends mixed as traders await USDA data

CHICAGO, May 19 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures ended mixed on Thursday as traders awaited U.S. Department of Agriculture data on the number of cattle in feedlots.

The USDA’s Cattle on Feed report, which is due on Friday at 2 p.m. CDT (1900 GMT), is expected to show U.S. feedlots held 1.3% more on May 1, compared with a year ago, according to a Reuters survey. An increase could mark four months in a row of record feedlot inventories since the current data series began in 1996, brokerage Allendale said.

The report is also expected to show placements in feedlots during April were down 4.6% from last year and marketings were down 2%.

“The U.S. beef market will be well-supplied into early September,” Allendale said.

CME June live cattle futures finished flat at 131.500 cents per pound after earlier dropping to its lowest price since May 9. Most-active August live cattle ended up 0.325 cent at 132.025 cents per pound after falling on Wednesday to its lowest price since Nov. 2.

Futures have come under pressure recently as high meat prices threaten to reduce U.S. demand, particularly expensive cuts of beef, analysts said.

U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren and Mike Rounds on Thursday introduced a bipartisan resolution asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate beef companies for potential price fixing.

Prices for choice cuts of boxed beef rose $1.23 to $261.70 per cwt and select cuts edged up $0.04 to $246.06 per cwt, the USDA said.

CME August feeder cattle ended down 0.600 cent at 165.200 cents per pound and matched a low of 164.600 set on Wednesday.

Lean hog futures, meanwhile, were weaker at CME. The June contract ended down 0.800 cent at 105.300 cents per pound after earlier reaching its highest price in about two weeks. July lean hogs closed 1.550 cents lower at 106.975 cents per pound. (Reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; Editing by Devika Syamnath)