January 31, 2018 / 1:44 AM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle post losses, but off session lows

    CHICAGO, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures on Tuesday settled lower, weighed down by
profit-taking and initial fund liquidation, said traders.
    Rising wholesale beef values and CME live cattle future's
discount to prices for slaughter-ready or cash cattle lifted
contracts from session bottoms.
    February         live cattle finished 0.875 cents per pound
lower at 124.825 cents. April         ended down 0.825 cent at
124.175 cents.
    Some investors sold live cattle contracts, rattled by the
U.S. stock market plunge as oil prices slumped and global
borrowing costs cooled.               
    Other CME live cattle market participants were put off by
Tuesday's $125 to $126 per cwt cash prices in the U.S. Plains,
compared to mostly $127 last week.
    And a few traders continued to digest Friday's U.S.
government monthly cattle report that showed increased cattle
supplies ahead.             
    Psychology tied to the stock market fall may have had some
influence on cattle futures, "but there's no question that we
have a lot of cattle out there waiting to come to market," said
Oak Investment Group President Joe Ocrant.
    Packers bought cattle earlier in the week than usual, which
suggests they may be short of supplies, a feedlot source said.
But processors were hesitant to raise cash bids given their
thinner margins, he said.        
    Investors awaited the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
bi-annual cattle inventory report on Wednesday at 2 p.m. CST
(2000 GMT)             
    CME feeder cattle finished modestly higher following firmer
deep-deferred live cattle futures and strong cash feeder cattle
    March         feeders ended up 0.175 cents at 147.175 cents.

    Most CME lean hog contracts were weakened by early-session
technical selling, said traders.
    They said nearby futures losses were limited by their close
proximity to CME's hog index for Jan. 26 at 73.83 cents.
    February lean hog futures        were up 0.050 cent at
72.450 cents per pound. Most-active April hogs        were 0.525
cent lower at 72.900, and May        closed 0.425 cent lower at
78.250 cents.
    Cash prices could consistently trend higher in the coming
weeks with packers competing for supplies to keep pace with
their impressive margins, a trader said.
    Demand for pork loins should pick up spurred by the
approaching spring grilling, and grocers will soon start booking
hams for the Eastern holiday, he said.     

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)
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