U.S. livestock: Live cattle futures slump 3rd straight session

Chicago | Reuters – Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle lost ground for a third day in a row on Wednesday, led by lower early-week cash prices, traders said.

Funds involved in CME livestock futures that track the Standard & Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index periodically sold, or “rolled,” December long positions mainly into deferred months. Wednesday was the second of five days for the roll process.

Technical selling developed after December and February slipped below their respective 10-day moving averages of 124.165 and 128.900 cents.

December live cattle finished 1.700 cents per pound lower at 122.925 cents, and February ended down 1.800 cents to 128.575 cents.

Packers so far this week paid $124 per cwt for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle in the U.S. Plains that a week earlier brought mostly $125, said feedlot sources.

“We hit the peak after packers and feedlots got carried away last week with sharply higher prices,” said Sterling Marketing Inc President John Nalivka.

Packers seem less interested in competing for supplies after sharply higher cash prices in recent weeks trimmed their margins, said traders and analysts.

They pointed out that packers might rely on significant numbers of cattle contracted against the futures market in advance of plant closings during the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

Wholesale beef values remain positive due to retail purchases after National Pork Month in October ended, and as fall weather heats up demand for comfort foods such as stew and chili, a trader said.

CME feeder cattle also slumped for a third consecutive session on sell stops, technical selling and lower live cattle futures.

November feeder cattle closed 2.550 cents per pound lower at 157.325 cents.

Hog futures down again

Sell stops, fund liquidation and losses in CME’s cattle markets pressured the exchange’s hog contracts for a sixth straight session, said traders.

Investors were skeptical that Wednesday morning’s cash price uptick would last based on lower wholesale values.

December hogs ended down 0.375 cent per pound at 63.550 cents. February closed 1.125 cents lower at 69.750 cents, below the 20-day moving average of 69.781 cents.

Processors will need fewer hogs before shutting down plants over the Thanksgiving holiday, a trader said. Hogs are being fed newly harvested corn that, along with cooler temperatures, are allowing pigs to grow quicker, he said.

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