Profit-taking undercuts CME live cattle futures

CHICAGO, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures on Friday were weakened by profit-taking during a shortened session following the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday.

CME livestock markets closed early at 12:15 p.m. CST (1815 GMT) and will resume on Monday at 8:30 a.m. CST (1430 GMT).

Technical selling, and potential cattle supply growth ahead, further weighed on CME live cattle contracts.

December live cattle finished down 0.475 cent per pound at 118.575 cents, and February ended 0.900 cent lower at 124.575 cents.

“The market has been anticipating more cattle to come based on recent U.S. government Cattle-On-Feed reports,” said Oak Investment Group President Joe Ocrant.

Investors look forward to next week’s prices for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle after packers this week in the U.S. Plains paid roughly $118 to $120 per cwt. A week ago those animals brought mostly $119.

Processors caught short on supplies, and retailers featuring beef as consumers suffer from “turkey fatigue” after Thanksgiving, might support cash prices next week in parts of the Plains, said traders and analysts.

Other cash prices might feel pressure from ample cattle numbers now. And some processors may make do with what they have before plants close over the Christmas holiday.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s export sales report for the week ended Nov. 16 showed U.S. beef exports at 9,300 tonnes, mostly to South Korea. It was unchanged from the week before but down 38 percent from the prior four-week average.

Buy stops and softer corn prices lifted CME feeder cattle for a third straight session.

January feeder cattle closed up 0.575 cent per pound at 153.300 cents.

CME lean hogs garnered support from buy stops and technical buying, said traders.

Some investors bought December futures and simultaneously sold deferred months in a trading strategy known as bull spreads.

December hogs ended 0.425 cent per pound higher at 63.250 cents. February closed up 0.300 cent to 69.400 cents.

Cash prices were mixed as post-Thanksgiving holiday packer demand varied.

Wholesale pork prices rose after grocers purchased product to avoid supply disruptions after plants closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Friday’s USDA export sales report put U.S. pork exports at 16,300 tonnes, mostly to Mexico. That was up 24 percent from a week earlier and up 1 percent from the previous four-week average.

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