Livestock Futures Climb After Mixed Week
By Benjamin Parkin
Cattle futures rose as traders took profits on a recent selloff, with prices down 5% for the week.
Contracts for live and feeder cattle have fallen sharply in recent days as traders faced an increasingly negative outlook. Cash-market and wholesale beef prices slid this week while cattle weights and herd sizes recently trended higher.
Analysts said that prompted some hedge funds to pull out of bets that prices will rise. Regulatory data released by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on Friday afternoon will show how money managers positioned themselves as of Tuesday.
That selling pressure sent cattle futures to the lowest point in 2017 earlier this week, before prices stabilized on Friday amid bargain hunting and profit taking.
"Technically we broke through all sorts of support levels this week," said Troy Vetterkind, owner of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage in Thorp, Wis.
August-dated live cattle futures rose 0.8% to $1.09725 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. CME August feeder cattle futures rose 0.4% to $1.41775 a pound.
The cash trade for cattle was mostly quiet on Thursday and early Friday. Analysts said feedyards were keen to sell what they could earlier in the week to avoid taking larger discounts as the market headed lower. Most cattle so far this week traded on Wednesday for $1.15 a pound live and $1.83 a pound dressed, down several cents from last week.
Hog futures, meanwhile, inched higher on Friday to cap a week of modest gains. Cash prices were falling, though the CME lean hog index continues at a premium to the soon-to-expire August contract. Pork prices were also higher Thursday and midday Friday.
CME August lean hog futures rose 0.2% to 84.65 cents a pound, while October futures rose 1% to 68.625 cents a pound.
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