By Michael Hirtzer
CHICAGO, March 31 U.S. livestock futures were
narrowly mixed on Friday, with live cattle edging slightly
higher in a rebound from an earlier 10-day low as investors
squared up their positions on the final day of the quarter,
traders and analysts said.
Most-active Chicago Mercantile Exchange June live cattle
settled unchanged at 110.875 cents per lb, underpinned by
expectations that demand for cattle will remain robust in the
coming weeks. Cattle on a continuous chart gained about
0.8 percent for the quarter.
Prices earlier came under pressure from declines in
wholesale beef and lower trades in Plains cash cattle markets.
"This market is undervalued," Top Third Ag Marketing broker
Craig VanDyke said of live cattle. "We're seeing some weakness
in the (beef) product but I don't think that's a surprise given
the run-up in the slaughter."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said wholesale beef
prices fell $1.09 to $214.12 per cwt, lowest in about three
weeks. Beef prices have declined from the multimonth peaks of
$224.93 on March 22 as packers boosted slaughter rates this
month to capitalize on big profit margins.
CME May feeder cattle futures finished 1.275 cents higher at
132.700 cents per lb, above their session lows of 130.125. For
the quarter, feeder cattle climbed 2.7 percent.
CME June lean hog futures were down 0.650 cent to
69.850 cents per lb. Hogs finished the quarter about
Hogs on Thursday fell to a three-month low ahead of a USDA
quarterly pigs report that showed the U.S. herd 4 percent larger
than a year ago, at 70.976 million head.
"Hogs are performing fairly well... this might be a
victory," VanDyke said, pointing to the bearish USDA hogs supply
Still, hogs continued to decline in U.S. cash markets.
Prices fell 24 cents to an average of $61.49 per cwt in the top
market of Iowa and southern Minnesota, USDA data showed.
Wholesale pork edged 22 cents higher to $75.40 per cwt, led
by steep increases in prices for pork butt and picnic cuts.
(Reporting by Michael Hirtzer; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)