* Live cattle end mostly firmer
* Feeder cattle finish higher
By Theopolis Waters
CHICAGO, March 3 Chicago Mercantile Exchange
lean hog futures sank more 2 percent on Friday following
lower cash and wholesale pork values, said traders.
They said worries about a looming supply buildup furthered
hog futures losses.
April hogs ended 1.525 cents per pound lower at
66.750 cents, and May down 1.350 cents to 72.750 cents.
Friday morning's western Corn Belt cash hog prices averaged
$68.32 per cwt in light volume, a $2.24 plunge from Thursday,
the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
Separate USDA data on Friday showed the average wholesale
pork price, or cutout, fell 72 cents per cwt to $79.44 from
Thursday, following $7.54 lower pork bellies.
The most recent U.S. government quarterly hog report showed
large numbers of pigs coming to market this spring and summer,
said independent CME livestock futures trader Dan Norcini.
Volatile pork belly prices are responsible for the wild
swings in pork cutout values lately, he said.
Processors have enough hogs to maintain current slaughter
levels while helping packers preserve their profitable margins,
a hog merchant said.
MOST LIVE CATTLE MONTHS RISE
CME live cattle futures settled mostly firm on pre-weekend
positioning that included fund rolling ahead of similar moves
next week, said traders.
Funds in CME's live cattle and hog markets that track the
Standard & Poor's Goldman Sachs Commodity Index sold or
"rolled" their April long positions mainly into June.
The first of five days for the roll process officially
begins on Tuesday.
April live cattle closed down 0.175 cent per pound
to 115.975 cents. June ended up 0.025 cent to 106.750
cents and August 0.325 cent higher at 102.275 cents.
Investors await next week's sales of slaughter-ready, or
cash, cattle that this week traded at $123 to $126 per cwt,
versus $124 to $125 a week ago.
Some packer inventories were full, but others paid more for
supplies given their improved margins and strong wholesale beef
However, there are sentiments that the recent beef cutout
price surge may about to peak at a time when Lent tends to hurt
Friday morning's choice wholesale beef price rose 64 cents
per cwt to $208.99 from Thursday. Select cuts were down 39 cents
to $203.33, the USDA said.
Short covering and back-month live cattle futures buying
boosted CME feeder cattle.
March feeders closed 0.775 cent per pound higher at
(Reporting by Theopolis Waters; Editing by James Dalgleish)