December 26, 2018 / 10:27 PM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-Cattle, hog futures mostly higher on technical buying

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, Dec 26 (Reuters) - U.S. livestock futures were
mostly higher on Wednesday, with cattle buoyed by expectations
for gains in cash markets while hogs climbed on short covering
after staying above Monday's six-week lows, traders and analysts
    Prices for both cattle and hogs moved in relatively narrow
ranges on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) in light-volume
trading following the Christmas Day holiday on Tuesday.
    A winter storm moving through parts of the U.S. Plains
including Nebraska was likely to result in heavy accumulation of
snow, muddying cattle feedlots and potentially limiting what
feeders would make available for beef packers. The risk of
storm-related disruptions, coupled with higher beef prices,
could entice packers to pay up for cattle.
    However, packers also will slaughter fewer animals this week
due to holiday closures. That could limit demand and cap gains
in cattle prices.
    "With the short kill week, and winter weather moving in,
more people are battening down that hatches instead of getting
ready to move animals to market," said Matthew Wiegand, a
Nebraska-based broker at FuturesOne.
    CME February live cattle         settled down 0.025 cent at
122.750 cents per pound after earlier hitting a peak of 123.500
cents, the highest since Oct. 29. The April contract        
reached a contract high of 125.600 cents before settling at
125.250 cents, up 0.025 cent.
    CME January feeder cattle         finished up 0.725 cent at 
148.100 cents per pound, supported in part by a steep drop in
corn futures       . Feeders often move in the opposite
direction of corn futures, since lower corn prices reduce costs
to fatten cattle.
    CME February lean hog futures         were up 0.075 cent at 
60.375 cents per pound and April hogs         up 0.100 cent to
67.200 cents. 

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago
Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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