November 29, 2017 / 11:21 PM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-Hog futures retreat after trading at three-week high

    By Julie Ingwersen
    CHICAGO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - U.S. lean hog futures        
fell on Wednesday, retreating from a three-week high on
technical selling and a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
report showing a jump in average hog weights in Iowa and
southern Minnesota, analysts said.
    Live cattle         and feeder cattle futures         rose
on short-covering and bullish macroeconomic data.
    Live hogs closed lower, snapping a four-session advance.
Most-active CME February hogs        settled down 0.625 cent at
70.900 cents per pound while December hogs        were down
0.675 cent to 65.075 cents.
    Futures fell on news that the USDA reported the average hog
weight for the Iowa/southern Minnesota/South Dakota reporting
area at 285.5 pounds, up 1.3 pounds from the previous week.
    "This is a sharp increase and raises the concern about lax
packer kill schedules," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with
Allendale Inc.
    Cattle futures rose on short-covering despite a drop in
boxed beef prices. Choice-grade wholesale beef prices were down
$2.08 to $206.55 per cwt, the USDA said.           
    "It was short-covering today and maybe unwinding of long
hog/short cattle (spread positions) that gave us a bit of a
push," said Don Roose, president of Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.
    CME February live cattle        were up 0.925 cent to
126.600 cents per pound and December cattle        up 0.825 cent
to 120.475 cents.
    CME January feeder cattle        were up 1.075 cents to
155.575 cents per pound.
    Also supportive, U.S. gross domestic product expanded at a
3.3 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Commerce
Department said.             
    The report followed news on Tuesday that U.S consumer
confidence surged to a near 17-year high in November.
    Both indicators were seen as bullish for consumer demand for
beef, Nelson said.
    "The whole demand issues has been a strong factor for us in
alleviating the excess product of meat in the industry," Nelson

 (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen, editing by G Crosse)
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