Livestock Futures Trade Sideways on Price Consolidation

By Benjamin ParkinFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Livestock futures were mixed as traders consolidated recent gains.

Higher-than-expected cattle sales in the cash trade sparked a rally in the futures market on Wednesday. An uptick in prices, first at an online auction and then in follow-up sales, sent futures to the top of their daily trading band.

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Cash-market trade was quiet on Thursday, however, with some sales of $1.20 a pound live in Iowa and $1.90 a pound dressed in Nebraska. That left futures traders reluctant to take prices too far from the prior day's close.

Live cattle futures for August delivery at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell 0.4% to $1.17425 a pound, while later month contracts were largely steady.

Feeder cattle contracts continued to inch higher on a sell-off in corn prices, however. CME August futures rose 0.8% to $1.53025 a pound.

"The last couple of days have been brutal now in the grains," said Tim Hackbarth, a market strategist at risk manager Zaner Group in Chicago. "That's helping margins."

Lean hog futures were also mixed. Higher meat prices, led by soaring pork belly costs, have helped stave off significant losses. But analysts said a downturn as summer demand begins to wane could start to weigh on the market.

"We are expecting the strong seasonal demand for pork bellies and high hog prices to subside in the coming weeks," said Craig Turner, a senior broker at Daniels Trading in Chicago, in a note to clients. "Large supplies are in the pipeline and demand typically weakens as we get further along in the summer and into the fall."

CME August lean hog futures fell 0.1% to 82.525 a pound.

Write to Benjamin Parkin at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 13, 2017 15:16 ET (19:16 GMT)