U.S. livestock: Live cattle climb on technical buying

Chicago | Reuters — Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures closed higher Tuesday on technical buying, halting a four-session slide that drove the benchmark April contract to a two-week low a day earlier.

But the contract closed well off its session high, paring gains as cattle traders reacted to a firmer U.S. dollar and declines on Wall Street tied to concerns about rising U.S. interest rates.

A drop in equities indexes can raise worries about consumer demand for beef.

“We are watching the stock market and crude looking a little ugly; that is something that has been on the cattle market’s radar… We did see the cattle market come under (pressure) when we were taking a dip in the equities,” said Craig VanDyke with Top Third Ag Marketing in Chicago.

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Most-active CME April live cattle settled up 0.25 cent at 124.25 cents/lb., after reaching a session high of 125.675 (all figures US$).

CME April feeder cattle settled up 1.25 cent at 149.2 cents/lb. and front-month March feeders finished up one cent at 146.55.

The February live cattle contract expires on Wednesday, and that factor, coupled with the last trading day of the month, could boost market volatility, VanDyke said.

Hog futures closed steady to weaker, with CME April lean hogs ending unchanged at 69.95 cents/lb.

— Julie Ingwersen is a commodities correspondent for Reuters in Chicago.

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