Cattle Futures: Live Cattle Mixed On Cash Talk, Spreads

US - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures closed mixed Wednesday on speculation that cash prices this week will fall short of last week's values based on Tuesday's Plains trade that sparked bear spreading out of the April contract into the June and August trading months.
calendar icon 29 March 2007
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Front-month 40-day moving average technical resistance and downward spiraling boxed beef prices hounded April and June live cattle for most of the session.

Nevertheless, distant cattle contracts floated up from session bottoms, with some settling in positive territory, aided by Chicago Board of Trade corn that lost ground as the morning progressed.

Spot-April closed 65 points lower at 96.17 cents a pound.

Most-active June finished up 7 points at 93.42 cents.

Live cattle stumbled out of the chute due to Tuesday evening's choice and select boxed beef quotes that were down $0.92 and $1.06. Also, potential buyers were taken aback by word that several live basis cattle in parts of the Midwest on Tuesday moved at $96.00 per hundredweight, or $1.00 per hundredweight below last week's trade, and much earlier in the week than usual.

Although live cattle futures clawed their way back from morning lows with the help of short covering and withering CBOT corn futures, April and June's 40-day moving averages impeded front-month upward mobility and again will present challenges for both contracts on Thursday.

What's more, shrunken calculated packer profit margins and boxed beef's deterioration could confine the April contract to within a narrow 96.00- to- 96.50-cent range on Thursday, a cattle broker said.

RJ O'Brien bought June and sold August outright. Rosenthal was an outright buyer of August and June seller. Cadent Financial bought August. JP Morgan was cited as a June seller.

Estimated live cattle volume was 41,127 contracts, compared with 30,679 Tuesday.

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