Cattle futures fell as traders waited for the week's cash trade to develop.
Many traders expected physical cattle prices to rise, and buying interest in the futures market waned as they waited for confirmation of this week's price direction.
After the close, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that cattle traded in Kansas for $120 to $121 per 100 pounds on a live basis. Cash prices last week averaged at $119 live and $189 dressed.
Sales didn't surface through most of Thursday's trading session, however. Meatpackers initially started bidding as low as $117 live and $188 dressed, market observers said, but raised their offers in some states. Feedyards in some regions were asking for as much as $5 more.
Lower beef prices added to the selling pressure. Wholesale beef fell 94 cents to $205.61 per 100 pounds at midday Thursday, on track for a fourth consecutive day of losses.
December live cattle futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange fell 0.5% to $1.199 a pound.
Hog futures also fell. CME December Lean hog futures fell 1.2% to 64.275 cents a pound.
Cash prices have risen this week, climbing to $58.55 per 100 pounds, but remain at a discount to futures. That prompted traders on Thursday to try and narrow that gap, said Craig Turner, a senior broker at Daniels Trading in Chicago.
The front-month contract has to converge with cash prices before it expires in mid-December.
"Cash is going to have to come up, or futures are going to have to come down," Mr. Turner said.
Write to Benjamin Parkin at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 30, 2017 15:19 ET (20:19 GMT)