Cattle futures fell slightly Wednesday, largely avoiding the broader sell-off in commodities.
The June futures contract for cattle settled down 0.05 cent, or 0.05%, at $1.1055 a pound, a seven-week low. The August contract fell 0.1% to $1.1295 a pound, while the October contract rose 0.1% to $1.1822 a pound.
Futures for young cattle, known as feeders, declined as well. The May futures contract dropped 0.05 cent to $1.2927 a pound, and the August contract fell 0.12 cent, or 0.1%, to $1.3292 a pound.
Prices appear to be reaching a bottom as the recent declines nearly match historic, seasonal downward trends, and a large liquidation by investors has happened, said Joe Ocrant, president of Oak Investment Group
"They just got themselves way overpriced," he said of futures.
Analysts also point to how the recent sell-off has widened the gap between futures prices and cash prices, with cash markets at around $1.15 a pound. That's likely to support June futures since the two markets will converge in the coming weeks ahead of contract expiration.
In cash markets, trading is considered completed for the week following Tuesday's sales at mostly $1.15 a pound on a live basis in the Texas Panhandle and Kansas. Prices there were down 1 to 2 cents per pound for the week. In Nebraska, dressed prices were from mostly $1.85 to $1.86 a pound and live $1.15 to $1.16 a pound, also down 1 to 2 cents from the previous week.
Midday boxed beef prices, which are a measure of wholesale prices, were weaker with choice quoted off 36 cents at $181.80 per hundred pounds and select down 94 cents at $175.39 per hundred pounds on 173 total loads, according to the USDA.
HedgersEdge.com reported the latest beef packer margin index at minus $20.60 per head, compared with minus $28.05 the previous day.