January 31, 2018 / 11:37 PM / 17 days ago

LIVESTOCK-CME live cattle futures sag on technicals, softer cash

    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures fell on Wednesday for a second straight session
on softer cash cattle prices and technical selling, traders
said.
    Commodity funds hold sizable net long positions in CME live
cattle and feeder cattle futures, and investors may have shed
some of that length to book profits at month-end, they said.    
    February         live cattle finished 0.975 cent per pound
lower at 123.850 cents and most-active April         settled
down 1.250 cents at 122.925 cents. 
    Tuesday's lower cash cattle trade continued to hang over the
futures market. Cash cattle had traded at $125 to $126 per cwt
in Kansas and Texas, compared to mostly $127 the previous week.
    "It appeared that feedlots wanted to take advantage of
positive basis and get some cattle sold before the (USDA cattle)
inventory report," said Jeff French, a broker with Top Third Ag
Marketing in Chicago.
    CME March         feeders ended 2.125 cents lower at 145.050
cents, following declines in live cattle futures.
    After the close, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported
the U.S. cattle herd at 94.4 million head as of Jan. 1, up 1
percent from a year ago and in line with trade expectations.
                         
    "The trend continues," French said, adding "cattle producers
continue to expand their herds."
    Analysts said, however, that drought in the U.S. southern
Plains contributed to the smallest rise in the country's cattle
population in three years.             
    CME lean hogs settled mixed. February lean hog futures
       rose 0.775 cent at 73.225 cents per pound while
most-active April hogs        fell 0.650 cent to settle at
72.250.

 (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen, editing by G Crosse)
  
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