January 20, 2018 / 12:07 AM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle futures sag, halting 5-session advance

    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange
cattle futures edged lower on Friday to snap a five-session
climb, pressured by technical selling and uncertainty about cash
price direction, given that cash cattle did not trade ahead of
the closing bell, brokers said.
    However, after the futures market closed, fed cattle traded
lightly in cash markets in Kansas, Texas and Nebraska at $123
per cwt, $3 higher than a week ago - a bullish factor for the
resumption of futures trade on Monday.
    "Obviously futures were disappointed by the lack of cash
trade," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist for Allendale Inc.
    CME February         live cattle futures settled down 0.050
cent per pound at 121.900 cents. April         ended down 0.750
cent at 122.725 cents. 
    Cash cattle were bid at $118 as recently as Friday morning,
but bids rose to $122 later in the day with trades following at
    Analysts attributed the higher cash price to expectations of
rising consumer spending, forecasts for a winter storm in the
Plains early next week that could slow the transport of animals,
and robust weekly U.S. beef export sales data. The U.S.
Department of Agriculture reported export sales of U.S. beef in
the latest week at 15,000 tonnes.             
    "Weekly beef export sales were very strong, 37 percent above
the five-year average for this particular week. So (there was)
just a litany of small good stories," Nelson said.
    CME feeder cattle futures declined, following live cattle
futures, with most-active March         feeders down 1.575 cents
per pound at 145.600 cents. 
    CME lean hog futures declined on weaker cash prices, traders
said. Packers were able to pay less for hogs due to rising
temperatures in the Midwest that have eased the movement of
animals from farms to processing plants, following a bout of
wintry weather earlier this week.
    Lean hogs in the top cash market of Iowa and southern
Minnesota were down 36 cents per cwt from a day earlier,
according to USDA data.         
    CME February         hogs settled down 0.975 cent per pound
at 72.075 cents and April         ended 0.400 cent lower at
75.500 cents.    
    Sell-stops and technical selling contributed to weakness in
lean hog futures. Traders noted a gap in the chart for February
contract        between the Jan. 12 high of 71.825 cents and
Friday's low of 72.000 cents, which could act as a magnet for
futures next week.

 (Additional reporting by Theopolis Waters; editing by Diane
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