U.S. livestock: Hogs up, live cattle decline on spreading

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(Gloria Solano-Aguilar photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Chicago | Reuters — U.S. livestock futures were mixed on Friday, with lean hogs sharply higher and live cattle narrowly lower in largely technically driven and spread trading, dealers said.

Friday was the final day of the five-day roll for funds tracking Standard + Poor’s Goldman Sachs Commodity Index, and investors moving out of front months helped to prop up some deferred livestock futures contracts.

Deferred lean hogs contracts jumped for the second straight session — after tumbling to life-of-contract lows during the first three days of this week.

Hog futures rose despite generally weaker prices for the animals in cash markets and a seasonal downward trend in wholesale pork values.

CME October hogs became the most actively traded contract, finishing up 1.35 cents at 55.3 cents/lb. while August hogs edged 0.275 cent lower at 70.15 cents (all figures US$).

Cash hogs in Iowa and southern Minnesota were down a penny at $73.52/cwt and wholesale pork was up 31 cents to $83.82 per cwt, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“There’s a lack of new information… it’s positioning more than anything,” a cattle and hog futures trader said of Friday’s session.

CME August live cattle settled 0.475 cent lower at 104.55 cents/lb. while the deferred October contract fell only 0.225 cent, to 107.375 cents.

CME August feeder cattle futures settled down 0.3 cent, to 150.725 cents/lb., and September feeders climbed 0.1 cent, to 151.075 cents.

After futures trading closed, feedlots in Texas and Kansas sold cattle to beef packers at about $111/cwt, in deals that were about $2 lower than a week ago.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission weekly data showed that speculative investors in the trading week that ended on Tuesday added to net long positions in live and feeder cattle futures and added to a net short position in hog futures.

— Michael Hirtzer reports on commodity markets for Reuters from Chicago.

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