* Feeder cattle finishes mixed
* Hog market hits 6-month lows
By Theopolis Waters
CHICAGO, April 18 Chicago Mercantile Exchange
live cattle on Tuesday spiked to their highest since
mid-April 2016, driven by improved wholesale beef demand that
may underpin cash prices this week, said traders.
They said profit-taking pulled back-month futures down from
new contract highs achieved earlier in the session.
April live cattle closed 0.350 cent per pound higher
at 126.775 cents. June ended up 0.075 cent at 115.650
cents, after initially reaching a new high of 116.900 cents.
Tuesday morning's average wholesale beef price climbed $1.61
per cwt to $215.74 from Monday. Select cuts surged $2.53 to
$203.31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Investors await the sale of about 4,400 animals at the Fed
Cattle exchange that could set the tone for this week's cattle
Slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle last week in the U.S.
Plains fetched mostly $128 to $129 per cwt.
Much improved packer margins and a recent wholesale beef
price rally, as retailers buy meat for spring grilling, might
support cash prices this week, said traders and analysts.
They also alluded to fewer cattle for sale than last week
and tight supplies in parts of the Plains.
Profit-taking undercut CME feeder cattle contracts, which
also initially notched new highs.
April feeder cattle closed 0.375 cent per pound
lower at 138.675 cents, and earlier hit a new high of 139.825
HOGS LOWEST IN SIX MONTHS
CME nearby lean hog contracts sagged to six-month
lows, pressured by sell stops and fund liquidation, said
They said bargain buying and expectations of a seasonal cash
price turnaround lifted contracts from morning lows.
Lightly traded May closed 0.575 cent per pound lower
at 67.150 cents. Most-actively traded June ended 0.850
cent lower at 71.500 cents.
Funds bought cattle futures and sold hogs, said independent
livestock futures trader Dan Norcini. Pork packer margins are
"phenomenal," which may help support cash hog prices this week,
Tuesday morning's average cash hog price in Iowa/Minnesota
was at $56.60 per cwt, up 4 cents in extremely light volume from
Monday, the USDA said.
Tuesday's average pork packer margins were a positive $32.70
per head, up from a positive $29.10 a year ago, as calculated by
Pork cutout values may find support at a time when
supermarkets are featuring product for outdoor cookouts, said
U.S. government data on Tuesday morning showed the average
wholesale pork price up $1.90 per cwt from Monday to $76.86.
(Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)