July 7, 2017 / 8:59 PM / 7 months ago

LIVESTOCK-U.S. hog, cattle futures mostly higher on technicals

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, July 7 (Reuters) - U.S. livestock futures were
mostly higher on Friday, with cattle futures recouping a portion
of their losses from earlier this week in a technical rebound
and hogs recovering from steep declines in the past two
sessions, traders said.
    Signs of stabilizing prices in U.S. cash cattle markets
after weeks of weaker prices buoyed live and feeder cattle
futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange even as wholesale
beef prices continued to fall.
    Most-active CME August live cattle        edged 0.175 cent
lower to 114.775 cents per pound while most other contracts
notched modest gains. The August contract shed 1.3 percent for
the week and has lost ground in four out of the past five weeks.
    CME August feeder cattle        were up 0.400 cent to
145.025 cents but declined nearly 2 percent for the week.
    Cattle fetched mostly $117 to $118 per cwt in U.S. Plains
cash cattle deals earlier this week, in sales marginally better
than what some traders were anticipating. The cash trades helped
futures recover from a two-month low on Thursday.
    Still, demand for beef slows as consumers cook fewer steaks,
chops and roasts in the peak heat of the summer, and the weaker
meat prices often spill over into cattle prices.
    "I'm bearish on the cattle until I see some stability in the
beef," said independent livestock futures trader Dan Norcini.
"There's not real strong demand for the beef at this time of
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said choice-grade
wholesale beef was down $1.21 to $218.84 per cwt, lowest in more
than two months.           
    Wholesale pork prices were moving in the opposite direction,
with the pork cutout up $1.12 to $104.96 per cwt, highest in
more than two years, USDA data showed.
    Prices for pork bellies used to make bacon surged $5.73 to
$206.96 per cwt, near the record of $212.95 in April 2014.
    "The cutout, and belly cuts in particular, is what's
supporting (hog) prices," Norcini said.
    Hog cash prices and futures have tracked gains in pork
prices even as the U.S. hog herd was bigger than ever.
    Most-active CME August lean hog futures        finished
0.575 cent higher at 83.225 cents per pound while front-month
July hog futures        climbed 0.250 cent to 91.725 cents.

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; Editing by Jonathan
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