U.S. livestock: Hogs falter on profit-taking after two-month high

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. hog futures eased about one per cent on Tuesday as investors locked in profits after prices earlier climbed to the highest levels in more than two months, traders and analysts said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures were slightly higher and feeder cattle narrowly lower, in largely technically-driven trade ahead of Thursday’s U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday.

CME December hog futures hit a session peak of 50.325 cents/lb. — the highest levels since Sept. 19 — before reversing lower, ultimately settling at 49.3 cents, down 0.475 cent (all figures US$).

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“After yesterday’s spike higher, we saw just a little profit-taking (in hogs) in an otherwise very quiet livestock trading session,” said Zaner Group analyst Ted Seifried.

Most U.S. pork and beef slaughterhouses will idle for Thursday’s holiday, and hog futures rallied in part on ideas that packers were aggressively buying hogs for slaughtering after the holiday.

Gains in wholesale pork prices added support, with strong retailer meat demand for the holiday season helping to offset pressure from abundant supplies of U.S. pork, beef and poultry.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, after the close of trading, said wholesale pork prices were up 24 cents to $73.73 per cwt. Choice-grade wholesale beef was down 46 cents, to $185.22/cwt, and select beef up 44 cents, to $169.17.

Cash hogs in the top market of Iowa and southern Minnesota eased six cents, to $41.21.

Live cattle futures consolidated after Monday’s near three-month high as investors awaited trades in U.S. Plains cash cattle markets — deals that could take place as early as Wednesday.

Front-month CME December live cattle finished 0.325 cent higher at 109.35 cents and January feeder cattle were down 0.125 cent, to 124.05 cents.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on ag commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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