U.S. livestock futures were mostly higher on Wednesday, with both cattle and hogs recovering from recent lows on bargain buying and positioning ahead of government supply data, traders and analysts said.
Most lean hog contracts jumped 3 percent or more on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after earlier notching lifetime lows. Most-active CME June hogs were up 2.600 cents to 76.625 cents per pound while front-month April hogs eased 0.825 cent to 56.925 cents.
Hogs were down 84 cents to an average price of $49.06 per cwt in the top cash market in Iowa and southern Minnesota, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
“It’s more of a technical play than anything else,” Steiner Consulting Group analyst Altin Kalo said of futures.
USDA is scheduled to release a quarterly hogs and pigs report on Thursday that is expected to show the U.S. herd at 72.902 million, or 3.1 percent above a year ago.
Hog supplies are generally smaller during the summer months when warm weather slows the rate of animal weight gains while competition for supplies may be more intense after pork packers expanded slaughtering capacity.
“Historically, after Easter you tend to find a bottom,” Kalo said.
Trading in hog and cattle futures will be halted on Friday, the Good Friday religious holiday ahead of Easter Sunday.
CME April live cattle was up 0.575 cent to 116.000 cents per pound and most-active June cattle was up 0.325 cent to 105.575 cents.
CME March feeder cattle was up 0.550 cent to 135.975 cents per bushel and April feeders up 2.475 cents to 137.825 cents.
Cattle prices were supported partly by their discount to the cash market.
Slaughter-weight cattle in Kansas fetched $121 per cwt, down about $5 from a week ago. Nebraska cattle traded at $120.50, down from deals last week of $125 to $126, feedlot sources said.