CME lumber ends lower after near 33-mo high

CHICAGO, April 12 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange lumber futures closed lower in nearby months on Monday amid profit taking after May set a near 33-month high for a lead contract and all but July posted a contract high.

* Trading activity was thin as futures opened higher and set a new high for the second week in a row on strong technicals and reports of some cash trade late Friday at $300 to $304 per thousand board feet.

* Random Lengths quoted cash spruce at $300 per tbf on Friday, up $4 from Wednesday and up $9 from previous week.

* But traders noted that cash business was light to start the week and profit taking developed to pressure futures.

* May lumber 2LBK0 closed off $1.80 at $294.70 per tbf after trading up at $301.50 per tbf. July 2LBN0 was off $1.10 at $304.40 per tbf.

* Traders noted that housing remains a drag on sentiment, especially housing that has gone into foreclosure and takes potential buyers away from new housing.

* A record proportion of U.S. mortgages was in foreclosure or at least one payment past due in the fourth quarter, Mortgage Bankers Association said on Friday. [ID:nN19173281]

* Lumber prices have recovered enough to allow Canadian forestry firms to begin paying a lower export tax on softwood shipments to the United States starting in May. [ID:nN09108765] (Reporting by Jerry Bieszk; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)