KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--This week's fed cattle trading is working out as the relationship between cash and futures prices continues to encourage cattle feeders to sell.

Market analysts and brokers said cattle sold this week at $97 to mostly $98 per hundredweight on a live basis and at $154.50 to $155 in dressed markets. These price ranges could change as the rest of this week's trading gets done.

Many traders were perplexed about the sharp drop in Globex futures prices overnight, saying they saw little reason for such a steep decline. One trader, however, said the selling was to reduce margin calls, and the lower prices triggered pre-arranged sell orders by other traders.

Cattle traded last week at mostly $100 on a live basis and at mostly $163 on a dressed basis.

The HedgersEdge packer margin index is a plus $33.95 per head, compared with the previous index of a plus $31.90.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported its latest choice boxed beef composite carcass price at $168.88 per hundredweight, down $0.41, while select beef was up $0.09 at $164.29. The volume of fabricated loads was 162 and there were 53 loads of trimmings and coarse grind product reported.

Urner Barry's Yellow Sheet said end cuts continued to perform well for beef processors on active interest for spot market and forward delivery orders. Middle meats, however, were softer. Improved interest came from the retail sector for briskets as buyers looked to cover Memorial Day holiday feature ads. Ground beef remained an integral part of the positive operating margins for processors, and prices edged higher.


-By Lester Aldrich, Dow Jones Newswires; 913-322-5179; lester.aldrich@dowjones.com