September 20, 2017 / 8:45 PM / 10 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Live cattle surge on cash optimism, technical buying

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, Sept 20 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange
live cattle futures         notched their biggest gains in 11
months on Wednesday, boosted by optimism for higher cash cattle
prices and technical buying, traders and analysts said.
    Higher cattle sales at a weekly online auction helped to
trigger the rally. Feeder cattle         and lean hog futures
        also were mostly higher.
    Front-month October live cattle        jumped by their daily
price limit of 3.000 cents before settling up 2.975 cents higher
at 110.950 cents per pound, highest since Aug. 8. The percentage
gains of 2.8 were the largest since Oct. 20, 2016.
    "The Fed Cattle Exchange hasn't been too big of a focus
lately but today it did trade some volume - that was the
catalyst," said U.S. Commodities president Don Roose.
    Out of 1,450 cattle on offer at the online auction, 636 head
sold for an average price of $106.67 per cwt, according to the
auction website. That is up from last week's sales of 128 head
at $104.75 per cwt.
    The higher prices suggested beef packers would likely pay
higher prices in negotiated trades with feedlots later this
week. Cash sales last week in the Plains were mostly $105 to
$106 per cwt.
    Traders also were squaring positions ahead of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture's monthly Cattle on Feed and Cold
Storage reports, both due on Friday.
    Analysts polled by Reuters expected the USDA to show cattle
placed in feedlots for fattening in August down 2.9 percent from
last year - portending fewer animals reaching slaughter weight
in February and March.             
    CME October feeder cattle        finished up 4.475 cents at
157.275 cents per pound, after earlier rising by their daily
price limit of 4.500 cents.
    CME October lean hog futures        plunged 1.475 cents to
58.650 cents per pound as investors continued to roll out of the
front-month contract amid declining cash prices in the Midwest.
But most other contracts gained, with December hogs       
edging up 0.200 cent to 59.925 cents, highest since Sept. 6.

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)
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