By Michael Hirtzer
CHICAGO, Feb 21 U.S. live cattle futures
jumped 1 percent to the highest prices in about four weeks on
Tuesday, boosted by technical buying and gains in wholesale beef
prices, traders said.
Feeder cattle futures followed live cattle higher at
the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, while lean hogs were narrowly
lower in light technical selling and on weaker cash hog prices,
the traders said.
Wholesale beef was higher on Monday when futures markets
were closed for the U.S. Presidents Day holiday. Meat prices
extended those gains on Tuesday, with choice-grade beef rising
90 cents to $191.81 per cwt, according to the U.S. Department of
CME February live cattle settled 1.175 cents higher
at 119.100 cents per pound. The contract opened Tuesday's
trading above Friday's session high, creating a chart gap
between 118.000-118.325 cents that will be monitored by
Investors were exiting February live cattle positions ahead
of the Feb. 28 expiration, rolling deferred contracts such as
most-active April live cattle , which finished 0.375 cent
higher at 115.300 cents.
CME March feeder cattle settled 0.475 cent higher at
124.550 cents per pound, the highest close since Jan. 27 but
well off the earlier session peak of 125.625 cents.
Prices for corn , typically the main input cost in
fattening cattle, reversed higher late in Tuesday's session and
weighed on feeder cattle prices.
Cash feeders sold for steady to higher prices at a closely
watched auction in Oklahoma City, USDA said on Monday.
Weaker cash hog prices weighed on some lean hog futures
contracts. Hogs were down 57 cents to $73.64 per cwt in the key
Iowa and southern Minnesota market.
Wholesale pork prices were down 92 cents to $84.54 per cwt,
led by a $7.48 drop in pork belly prices.
Lean hog futures were consolidating in a relatively narrow
range near their recent roughly eight-month high.
CME April lean hogs settled down 0.425 cent to 70.350 cents
per pound, compared with their multi-month high of 72.650 cents
reached on Feb. 8.
(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Dan Grebler)