Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures rose for a fourth straight day on Thursday, led by strong wholesale beef prices that backed calls for steady to better cash prices this week, traders said.

  • At 8:21 a.m. CDT (1321 GMT), October was up 1.075 cents per lb to 167.175 cents, and December was at 168.875 cents, up 0.825 cent.
  • Wednesday afternoon's choice wholesale beef price, or cutout, rose $2.67 per hundredweight (cwt) from Tuesday to $246.55. Select climbed $2.22 to $234.48, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.
  • Feedlots in the U.S. Plains are asking more than $165 per cwt for market-ready or cash cattle, with no bids from packers, feedlot sources said. Last week, cash cattle in the Midwest moved at mostly $162.
  • Beef cutout values were up sharply three days in a row after packers passed last week's high cattle costs on to retailers, traders and analysts said.
  • Grocers are competing for less beef after some processors reduced slaughters to improve their margins, they said.
  • In a strategy known as bull spreads, investors bought the October contract and simultaneously sold December due higher cash price expectations and no live cattle deliveries late on Wednesday.
  • On Thursday, the USDA's export data for the week ended Oct. 2 showed U.S. beef sales at 14,100 tonnes, mostly to Canada, compared with 12,000 tonnes a week earlier.
  • FEEDER CATTLE - October was at 244.300 cents, up 1.975 cents, and November 1.675 cents higher at 244.600 cents.
  • CME feeder cattle reached a new high, helped by live cattle market buying and weak corn prices.
  • Traders cited the exchange's feeder cattle index for Oct. 7 at 238.01 cents, up from 237.57 for Oct. 6.
  • LEAN HOGS - October was at 109.550 cents per lb, up 1.425 cents, and December was 1.200 cents higher at 96.375 cents.
  • CME lean hogs drew support from short-covering in response to late Wednesday's firm cash prices as packers round out this week's production, traders said.
  • USDA data showed Wednesday afternoon's average hog price in Iowa/Minnesota was up 29 cents per cwt from Tuesday, at $108.23.
  • Market bulls contend that cash and wholesale pork values could come under pressure as hog supplies and animal weights grow seasonally.
  • Wednesday afternoon's wholesale pork price slipped 22 cents per cwt from Tuesday to $123.53.
  • December futures broke through the 100-day moving average of 95.65 cents in overnight trading, which triggered fund buying and buy stops.
  • Thursday's USDA's export data U.S. pork sales at 22,500 tonnes, mostly to Mexico, compared with 22,800 tonnes a week earlier.