February 15, 2018 / 11:40 PM / 10 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Live cattle up as market anticipates firm cash prices

    By Karl Plume
    CHICAGO, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures          scaled to the highest in at least three
months on Thursday on fund and technical buying and as traders
anticipated possibly higher cash cattle sales this week.
    Buying accelerated as futures prices topped highs posted
early last week, as the market shrugged off bearish news of weak
beef export sales.
    Bids and offers at U.S. Plains feedlot markets remain far
apart, but tighter near-term supplies of market-ready cattle in
northern feedlot areas fueled speculation that sales this week
could rise above last week's prices.
    "After three weeks of $126 trade on a live basis, the
market's hoping we could post a breakthrough of this recent
ceiling we have on cash prices," said Rich Nelson, chief
strategist with Allendale Inc.
    Bids in the southern Plains on Thursday were at $124 per cwt
against asking prices of $128 to $130, traders said.
    CME February         live cattle closed up 1.625 cents per
pound at 129.275 cents. Actively traded April         ended
2.025 cents higher at 127.250 cents and June         gained
1.550 cents to close at 118.600 cents.
    Feeder cattle futures followed live cattle higher despite
steady headwinds from firm corn prices, which touched a
near-four-month peak on Thursday.
    March feeders         gained 1.650 cents per pound to
149.825 cents while April futures         were 1.875 cents
higher at 152.300 cents.
    Lean hog futures declined on technical selling and as prices
for pork and cash market hogs eased.
    The wholesale pork carcass cutout value fell 53 cents to
$76.99 per cwt, while cash hogs in the closely followed Iowa and
southern Minnesota market dropped by $1.48 per cwt on Thursday.
                 
    Actively traded CME April lean hogs         settled 0.925
cent per pound lower at 69.725 cents after failing to break
above chart resistance at its 200-day moving average. May
futures         were 0.525 cent lower at 75.900 cents.

 (Reporting by Karl Plume; Editing by James Dalgleish)
  
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