CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle closed higher Wednesday on better-than-expected cash cattle prices, short covering and buy stops.

Also, feeder cattle, lean hogs and pork bellies settled in bullish trading territory.

Live cattle jumped from the outset, spurred by as much as $85 per hundredweight cash-basis cattle so far this week, compared with up to $84 last week. Market bulls were also excited by this week's cash sales that emerged before midweek rather than the usual Thursday or Friday transactions.

Climbing boxed-beef prices and profitable beef packer profit margins contributed to early live cattle buying interest that lifted spot October over 40-day moving average resistance on its way to a one-month high.

Upward December futures momentum, with the help of spreading into the contract out of back months, carried it to a near six-week top.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar's slide and Chicago Board of Trade corn's surge inspired back-month live cattle buyers.

Cattle market participants eagerly await the sale of remaining fed cattle after futures advanced on Wednesday. That gave those who sell cash cattle the ammunition they needed to dig in at $86 to $87 asking prices.

Bulls and bears will watch late Wednesday's CME information for potential deliveries.

And, some anxious short-term longs may decide to take profits Thursday in advance of the weekend rather than wait until Friday.

October live cattle settled 170 points higher at 86.60 cents a pound, and December closed 92 points higher at 87.07 cents.

Feeder cattle closed higher on short covering, the live cattle rally and buy stops. Spreaders also bought January and sold November.

And, some spot October maneuvering occurred as the contract prepares to expire Oct. 29.

October feeder cattle settled up 25 points at 94.50 cents, and November closed 102 points higher at 96.22 cents.


Pork Complex


CME hogs ended higher on short covering, the U.S. dollar's fall and expensive corn.

Hog futures gained at first driven by CME Globex lean hogs' run up and initial steady-to-higher cash hog quotes that stirred short covering.

Fund buying surfaced after spot December and nearby February blew through key moving average technical resistance barriers, which tripped buy stops.

Lean hogs received an added boost from the neighboring cattle pits that climbed on stronger-than-expected cash cattle prices so far this week.

Hog contracts gained ground despite front-month futures' bearish premiums to CME's hog index and late Tuesday's substantial pork cutout price drop. Lean hogs also moved contrary to February's mildly overbought chart indicator and trailing midday direct cash hog quotes.

"I know it's silly, but people were looking for a reason to trade and the dollar gave them that reason today [Wednesday]," a veteran hog broker said. "It will be interesting to see how this shakes out tomorrow [Thursday] when folks look at the premiums they've built in futures versus cash."

Steady cash hog bids are seen for Thursday.

Some packers are thought to have supplies taken care of for the week. However, others who look to book hogs for Saturday's kill or carryover into Monday are doing so with lost profit margins in mind.

December hogs ended 80 points higher at 53.67 cents a pound, and February finished 85 points higher at 60.60 cents.

Low volume February pork bellies ended 105 points higher at 81.50 cents on short covering, buy stops and lean hog buying.

Late Tuesday's CME weekly belly storage report outcome was viewed as mildly supportive for futures Wednesday.

Other belly contracts were unquoted.


-By Theopolis Waters, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-559-4965; theopolis.waters@dowjones.com