Hog Futures End Week With Rally

By Benjamin ParkinFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Hog futures leaped Friday despite a report that showed the national herd growing to a record size for this time of year.

Most-active December lean hog futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange rose 2.9% to 59.95 cents a pound, climbing above 61 cents during the session. The front-month October contract closed 0.3% lower at 55.4 cents.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday that total inventories of hogs and pigs rose to a record 73.5 million head as of Sept. 1, up 2% from a year earlier. Supplies of heavier hogs, which will likely go to slaughter this year, grew 4%.

Analysts said Friday's rally was sparked more by technical factors than the underlying fundamental outlook.

"It's a technical market," said Don Roose, president of U.S. Commodities. "The money is long and they're pushing it higher."

On the fundamental side, Mr. Roose said, traders were betting that export demand would help absorb the extra pork. The USDA on Thursday reported weekly pork export sales of 36,700 metric tons, a high for the marketing year.

Cattle futures were little changed. CME October live cattle futures closed 0.1% higher at $1.091 a pound.

Steady-to-higher prices for slaughter-ready cattle this week supported the futures market. Meatpackers paid an average of $107.90 per 100 pounds live and $171.13 dressed on Thursday, with some follow-up trade at similar levels on Friday.

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

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 29, 2017 15:07 ET (19:07 GMT)