February 23, 2018 / 11:07 PM / a year ago

LIVESTOCK-Live cattle drop 4th session on technical selling

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures         declined for the fourth straight session
on Friday, easing on technical selling and bets that cattle
prices have likely reached a short-term peak, traders and
analysts said.
    Feeder cattle         and lean hog futures         were
slightly higher, with feeders rebounding from a two-week low.
    Most-active CME April live cattle        settled down 0.525
cent at 124.850 cents per pound, bringing the contract's weekly
decline to about 2.2 percent.
    Some investors were liquidating positions in advance of a
government Cattle on Feed report released after the close of
futures trading on Friday in the wake of lower prices earlier
this week in U.S. Plains cash cattle markets.          
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture in the report said 11.630
million cattle were on feed as of Feb. 1, above a Reuters poll
for 11.575 million. About 2.068 million cattle were placed on
feed last month, up from the average estimate for 1.989 million.
    "We have lots of cattle on feed right now, and they will
soon be ready for market," Archer Financial Services broker
Dennis Smith said. "There's nothing bullish going on here."
    CME April feeder cattle        settled up 0.425 cent at
148.500 cents per pound. Front-month March feeders       
finished unchanged at 146.000.
    CME April lean hogs        were up 0.100 cent to 71.375
cents per pound.
    Hog prices were buoyed in part by weekly U.S. pork export
sales of 40,350 tons - the largest such sales since April 2016,
including relatively big volumes to Mexico, Japan and China,
USDA data showed.
    "We've been selling pork like crazy. It's an impressive
development to me," Smith said of the exports.

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Will Dunham)
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