Cattle Futures - Live Cattle Slide

US - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle ended lower Wednesday amid moderate weakness on bear spreads and positioning before this week's cash results and Friday's cattle report.
calendar icon 20 December 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Feeder cattle settled lower while lean hogs and pork bellies firmed during the session.

December/February and February/April bear spreads were in vogue as some spot-December participants liquidated positions in preparation for the contract's Dec. 31 expiration.

Spot-December selling was also linked to nervousness about this week's fed cattle price outcome. Isolated packer bids were quoted at $90 per hundredweight for live-basis cash cattle against $93 to $95 asking prices.

Meanwhile, December and February pulled back after both contracts tackled technical resistance. And Tuesday's cattle slaughter rebound generated sentiment that abundant supplies might diminish wholesale beef demand and cash prices later in the week.

Profit taking contributed to the overall negative tone in the market. And building anxiety ahead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's cattle report on Friday smothered buying interest.

USDA's monthly cattle-on-feed report is scheduled for release Friday. The following are analysts' estimated averages and ranges in percentage of a year ago:

. Average of Estimates
Range of Estimates
On Feed in Dec
Placed in Nov
Marketed in Nov

Cash price uncertainty and USDA's looming cattle survey may create an air of heaviness in the market Thursday. However, shorts and longs alike may settle accounts before the weekend, and ahead of Tuesday's Christmas holiday, that could make for a volatile trading day Thursday.

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