February 5, 2018 / 9:35 PM / 10 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Stocks, profit-taking hits CME live cattle futures

    CHICAGO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures        on Monday finished lower for the first
time in three session due to profit-taking and continued heavy
stock market losses, said traders.
    "People were just watching what happened with stocks over
the past few days and decided they wanted out of everything and
figure it all out later," a trader said.
    February         live cattle closed 0.725 cent per pound
lower at 126.125 cents. April         settled 0.650 cent lower 
at 125.475 cents.
    Live cattle futures traders await this week's prices 
market-ready, or cash, cattle. Last week, packers paid $125 to
$126 per cwt for cattle in the U.S. Plains that sold for $127 a
week earlier.
    Some packers might need supplies due to cold weather in the
U.S. Plains that is not allowing cattle to put on weight as
fast, said analsyts and traders.
    Improved packer profits and prospects for increased beef
demand might lend near-term cash price support, they said.
    They cautioned that slower cattle weight gains are backing
up livestock in feedlots, contributing to U.S. government
forecasts for increased supplies in the coming months.
    Wednesday's Fed Cattle Exchange sale of nearly 1,000 animals
may set the tone for this week's cash cattle trade. None of the
cattle for sale there last week attracted buyers.
    Monday evening is the first notice day for live cattle
deliveries against the February contract that will expire on
Feb. 28.
    Profit-taking, lower CME live cattle and steady to softer
cash feeder cattle prices sank the exchange's feeder cattle
    March         feeders ended 1.250 cents per pound lower at
149.675 cents. 
    CME lean hogs        closed mostly lower after a few
investors sold deferred months and at the same time bought
February futures ahead of its expiration on Feb. 14.
    Technical selling, along with weaker cash and wholesale pork
prices, discouraged prospective buyers of the April contract and
    February lean hog futures         closed 0.625 cent per
pound higher at 75.825 cents, and reached a new contract high of
75.900 cents. Most-active April         finished down 0.225 cent
at 73.325 cents, and May         ended 1.025 cents lower at
78.300 cents. 
    Packers resisted paying more for hogs after that strategy
over the past three sessions wore down their margins, a trader
said. Monday's wholesale pork value fell led by sharply lower
pork belly prices for product going into storage for later use,
he said. 

 (Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Reporting by Alistair Bell)
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