Jan 6 (Reuters) - CME live cattle futures were expected to open mixed on Monday, with support from Friday’s wholesale beef price gains facing pressure from profit taking, traders and analysts said.
* CME live cattle and hog futures investors are keeping tabs on an Arctic blast that is gripping much of the country.
* Dangerous driving conditions and bone-chilling cold could reduce the movement of livestock to market and slow cattle weight gains, a trader said.
* There is concern that consumers may stay home to avoid the snow and cold, which could dent demand for beef and pork at supermarkets and restaurants, he said.
LIVE CATTLE - Called up 0.200 to down 0.200 cent per lb.
* “No one has a clear picture about cash prices and beef demand given some of the coldest temperatures some of us have ever seen,” a cattle futures trader said.
* Most cattle in the Plains should be fine despite the extremely cold weather, but animal deaths are possible, he said.
* Last week, the bulk of cash cattle in the U.S. Plains traded at $137 per hundredweight (cwt) that topped the prior week’s record of $133 to $136, feedlot sources said.
* Back-to-back holiday-shortened workweeks reduced the availability of fresh beef, driving up recent wholesale prices and supporting cash prices this week.
* Packers are expected to curtail slaughters to avoid higher cash cattle prices and improve their slumping margins, a negative cash factor.
FEEDER CATTLE - Seen 0.200 cent per lb higher to 0.200 cent lower.
* CME feeder cattle could track the potentially mixed live cattle market.
* LEAN HOGS - Called 0.200 cent per lb lower to 0.200 cent higher.
* Friday’s lower cash hog and wholesale pork prices could pressure CME hogs, traders said.
* Friday afternoon’s average price of cash hogs in the closely-followed Iowa/Minnesota region was $78.00 per cwt, 81 cents per cwt lower than on Thursday, according to USDA.
* The government’s Friday afternoon wholesale pork price dropped $1.21 per cwt to $82.79, USDA said.
* Producers in the frozen Midwest may keep swine buildings closed to retain heat, a move that could force packers to hike cash hog bids, an analyst said. (Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)