Livestock Futures Mixed as Hogs Climb, Cattle Sag

By Benjamin Parkin Features Dow Jones Newswires

Livestock futures were mixed as traders searched for seasonal lows.

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Lean hog futures for October rose before giving back most gains to close 0.1% higher at 61.4 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Later-month contracts were also higher.

Cattle futures, meanwhile, fell. CME most-active October live cattle futures dropped 0.7% to $1.054 a pound.

Both markets have been rattled by concerns about oversupply in recent weeks, pushing prices for wholesale red meat and slaughter-ready livestock down since peaking earlier this summer. Some analysts say markets now have room for a bounce.

Hog futures are at an unusually wide discount to the CME's lean hog index, which tracks the cash market. The index was at 75.68 cents a pound as of Wednesday, almost 15 cents higher than the October futures contract. Analysts say those will need to converge, creating incentive for traders to push futures up toward the index.

High hog slaughter numbers will likely limit gains in the near term, however. Slaughter numbers are expected to increase into September and October, the Steiner Consulting Group said in a note to clients.

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Cattle futures, meanwhile, were under pressure as the week's cash trade trended lower. Meatpackers bought an estimated 4,000 head of cattle in Kansas at $1.05 a pound live on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said, in line with sales on Wednesday but below last week.

Though feedlots are expected to produce large numbers of slaughter-ready cattle in the near future, that output will likely ease at the end of the year after the USDA reported a slowdown in the rate of young cattle placed in feedlots for fattening.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at benjamin.parkin@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 31, 2017 15:22 ET (19:22 GMT)