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LIVESTOCK-Cattle hit new highs on technical buying, beef gains
March 17, 2017 / 10:28 PM / 9 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Cattle hit new highs on technical buying, beef gains

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, March 17 (Reuters) - U.S. live cattle futures
       climbed to a fresh seven-week high on Friday while feeder
cattle        reached the highest levels since August on support
from technical buying and gains in wholesale beef prices,
traders said.
    Chicago Mercantile Exchange futures tracked gains earlier
this week in Plains cash cattle markets, with meat packers
paying elevated prices amid big profit margins and the highest
beef values since last summer.
    Most-active CME April live cattle        finished 0.125 cent
higher at 119.325 cents per lb. Cattle reached their session-
and multiweek high of 119.750 cents in late-morning trading,
before paring gains into the close. April cattle on a weekly
chart has not lost ground in five weeks.
    CME April feeder cattle futures        were up 1.075 cents
to 131.625 cents per lb, capping a weekly gain on nearly 4
    "Cattle futures like the strength in the cash market and the
wholesale beef," said Archer Financials broker Dennis Smith. 
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture said choice-grade
wholesale beef was up $1.07 to $223.43 per cwt. 
    Average beef packer profit margins eased slightly but
remained lofty. HedgersEdge LLC estimated packer profits at
$117.05 per head of cattle, down from $130.45 on Thursday but up
from $91 a week ago.        
    CME lean hog futures        eased for the third straight
session as investors locked in profits following Tuesday's
multiweek high. April hog futures        settled down 0.850 cent
at 69.050 cents per pound. The contract still gained about 1.3
percent for the week, largely due to steep gains on Monday.
    "They came down through some moving averages," Smith said,
adding that he remained bullish on hogs due to good demand for
pork. "It's a strong market that has huge demand."
    Wholesale pork was up 26 cents to $81.60 per cwt while cash
hog prices in the top market of Iowa and southern Minnesota
averaged $66.10 per cwt, down $1.38.                      

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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