Cattle futures rose to a three-week high despite ongoing pressure in cash and meat markets.
Live cattle futures for October delivery rose 1% to $1.07325 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday, the highest close since Aug. 16.
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"Traders are bullish more out of 'hope' than really solid fundamental news," said Dennis Smith, a commodities broker at Archer Financial Services in Chicago.
Many are betting that cash prices for slaughter-ready cattle are bottoming. Most sales this week have been at $1.03 a pound live and $1.63 a pound dressed, down a couple of cents from last week. Still, analysts expect prices to stabilize as cattle supplies ease during the remainder of this year.
Beef prices also show signs of stabilizing, inching higher at midday Friday after falling on Thursday. Analysts say the meat is now cheap enough to stimulate more buying interest among retailers and consumers.
"Wholesale buyers are finding value in beef and we expect they'll increase their promotions," said David Maloni, president of consultancy the American Restaurant Association.
Weekly export sales of beef fell sharply, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, while monthly exports were higher.
Hog futures, meanwhile, reversed course, also climbing after opening lower. Cash-market prices for hogs were expected lower on Friday after falling continually this week. Pork prices were also lower.
Analysts said traders were disappointed after the opening of new slaughterhouses this week failed to drive cash prices higher.
"Weakness in the cash market in spite of higher slaughter capacity has helped spark aggressive selling from speculators," said the Hightower Report in a note to clients.
CME October lean hog futures rose 1.1% to 62.15 cents a pound.
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(END) Dow Jones Newswires
September 08, 2017 15:08 ET (19:08 GMT)