Dec 31 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures on Tuesday gained for a fourth consecutive session, lifted by higher wholesale beef prices, traders and analysts said.
* They said anticipation of steady cash cattle prices this week encouraged futures buyers.
* CME livestock markets will trade their normal hours on New Year’s eve.
* Positioning on the final day of trading for 2013 and thin holiday market volume could result in a volatile session.
* There were no live cattle deliveries reported by the CME late on Monday against the December contract that will expire on Tuesday at noon CST (1800 GMT).
LIVE CATTLE - At 8:47 a.m. CST (1447 GMT), December futures were at 134.750 cents per lb, up 0.350 cent. February was at 135.375 cents, 0.275 cent higher.
* No cash cattle bids or asking prices were reported by feedlot sources.
* Last week, cash cattle in Texas sold at mostly $133.50 per hundredweight (cwt), feedlots sources said. They reported sales of mostly $133 in Kansas and $135 in Nebraska a week ago.
* Packers paid record prices for cattle last week despite their poor margins and holiday-shortened work weeks, which suggest they need supplies, a trader said.
* Grocers scrambled to buy beef that is in short supply after plants closed during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, he said.
* Processors are expected to reduce slaughter rates in the near term to offset tight numbers of cattle and improve their margins.
* FEEDER CATTLE - January was at 167.450 cents per lb, up 0.175 cent. March was at 168.000 cents per lb, up 0.050 cent.
* CME feeder cattle drew support from the firm live cattle market.
* Benchmark Oklahoma City market feeder cattle prices will be unavailable Dec. 30 and 31 because of the New Year’s holiday.
LEAN HOGS - February was at 85.075 cents per lb, up 0.100 cent, while April was at 90.250 cents, down 0.200 cent.
* Monday’s cash hog and wholesale pork price gains stirred bullish spreads that underpinned February CME hogs and pressured the April contract, traders said.
* Packers are buying hogs for Saturday’s production to make up for Wednesday’s holiday down time, which provided cash support, a trader said.
* He said retailers are purchasing fresh pork to feature in early January.
Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by Kenneth Barry