U.S. livestock: Cattle futures hit six-week high; hog futures ease after rally

Chicago | Reuters – U.S. cattle futures rose for the sixth time in seven sessions on Thursday, hitting a six-week high on signs of strength in the cash market, traders said.

Hog futures eased after four straight days of gains pushed the front-month contract to its highest in nearly two months on Wednesday.

Volumes were light in a shortened trading session ahead of Christmas.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange February lean hogs fell 0.9 cent to 66.95 cents per pound. The contract found support at its 50-day moving average.

CME March live cattle futures gained 0.25 cent to close at 114.975 cents per pound. The front-month contract peaked at its highest since Nov. 12.

Live cattle on the cash market in the southern U.S. Plains traded about $2 higher this week than a week earlier, a trader said.

March feeder cattle rose 0.4 cent to 142.35 cents per pound.

A U.S. Agriculture Department report released after the market closed on Wednesday showed the size of the U.S. hog herd on Dec. 1 was 99% that of a year earlier, matching market forecasts.

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