May 10, 2017 / 9:16 PM / 3 months ago

LIVESTOCK-Cattle mixed on technicals as beef prices rise

    By Michael Hirtzer
    CHICAGO, May 10 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures ended narrowly mixed on Wednesday, with most
contracts trimming earlier steep losses in technically driven
trade as wholesale beef prices continued to rise, traders and
analysts said.
    Thinly traded feeder cattle futures were mostly 1 percent
lower. Lean hogs declined after reaching a roughly one-month
high on Tuesday, dragged down by recent losses in cattle.
    "It's more technical than fundamental," independent
livestock trader Tommy Beall said of the cattle market. "We've
seen a huge increase in open interest and volume. Some of that
is coming out of the market now, unwinding."
    It was the third of the five-day roll for traders tracking
the Standard & Poor's Goldman Sachs Commodity Index          ,
in which investors exited positions in June cattle and hog
futures and rolled into deferred months.
    CME June live cattle futures        settled 0.775 cent lower
at 124.200 cents per pound, well off their 1-1/2 week low
notched early in the session of 122.225. August cattle       
were down 0.250 cent to 120.400 cent while most other contracts
were slightly higher.
    CME August feeder cattle        fell 3.225 cents to 148.925
cents per pound, lowest since April 28.
    Cattle surged to the highest levels in a year last week but
have been largely under pressure since as investors locked in
profits. Beef prices can peak in May, potentially weighing on
cattle demand in the weeks ahead, Beall said.
    Retailers were stocking up on meat before the U.S. Memorial
Day holiday on May 29, which is considered the unofficial start
of summer outdoor grilling season. Higher-priced beef could
struggle to compete with cheaper poultry and pork cuts, analysts
said.
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture after the close of
trading said wholesale choice beef prices were up $2.42 to
$244.58 per cwt. Beef prices were the highest since 2015 and
have gained more than $34 in a month.           
    Wholesale pork was up 10 cents to $81.12 per cwt, highest
since March, USDA said.         
    CME June lean hog futures        were down 0.175 cent to
77.200 cents per pound and July hogs        down 0.225 cent to
77.275 cents.
    
    

 (Reporting by Michael Hirtzer in Chicago; editing by Diane
Craft)
  

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