Fund Buying Rallies CME Lean Hog Futures, Cattle Up

Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hogs settled higher on Wednesday, with support from fund buying and short-covering before the U.S. Thanksgiving Day holiday, traders said.

CME livestock markets will be closed for Thursday's holiday, but resume on Friday at 8:30 a.m. CST (1430 GMT) and close early at 12:15 p.m. CST (1815 GMT).

December hogs ended 2.125 cents per pound higher at 62.825 cents and above the 200-day moving average of 61.947 cents. February closed 2.150 cents higher at 69.100 cents, above the 40-day moving average of 68.643 cents.

Futures made headway without fundamental support, although there was talk that some packers might need hogs for the first full week of production after the holiday.

A few grocers may also step up near-term pork purchases to avoid possible shortages after packing plants shutdown for the holiday.

On Wednesday the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) monthly cold storage report showed October pork inventory totaled 597.3 million pounds. That eclipsed analsyts' average forecast of 595.1 million pounds. 

Cattle Markets Extend Gains

CME live cattle futures gained for a second day in a row on short-covering and improved cash prices, said traders.

Short-covering and fund buying contributed to Wednesday's market advances, they said.

December live cattle finished up 1.075 cents per pound at 119.050 cents, and February ended 1.425 cents higher at 125.475 cents.

Late on Tuesday, packers in Nebraska paid mostly $120 per cwt for slaughter-ready, or cash, cattle that were steady to up $1 compared to a week ago there, the USDA said. Tuesday morning's Texas and Kansas cash trade brought $118, $1 lower than a week ago in both states.

"The numbers I'm seeing so far suggest packers haven't secured enough animals this week. So it's kind of given the feedlots the upper hand, depending on the region you're looking at," Top Third Ag Marketing broker Jeff French said.

Some processors avoided paying more for cattle after filling inventories and closing plants for the holiday. Others competed for supplies while taking advantage of their margins that have come down in recent weeks, but remain historically high.

Wednesday's USDA cold storage report showed total beef stocks last month at 506.9 million pounds, well above analyts' average forecast of 489.4 million pounds.

Buy stops, short-covering and live cattle futures buying lifted CME live cattle contracts for a second straight session.

January feeder cattle closed up 1.100 cents per pound at 152.725 cents.