Cattle Futures - Most Cattle Up Slightly

US - CME live cattle settled mostly firm on midday boxed beef's rise, near end-of-the-month position evening and February/April forward spreads fueled by cash speculation for this week.
calendar icon 31 January 2008
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Most beef contracts began the session on a down note after short-term longs claimed profits following Tuesday's board rally.

Nevertheless, February and April both snapped back after they neared their respective 10-day moving average support levels. Spot-month traders remained confident about a no-worse-than-steady fed cattle trade for this week based on last week's mostly $90 to $91 per hundredweight live-basis sales.

And, USDA's midday boxed beef wire showed choice cuts up $0.36 per hundredweight and select items gains $0.20.

Meanwhile, those who at times sold some of the deferred cattle month options because of lagging CBOT corn futures and profit taking, eventually returned to shore up those contracts despite further CBOT corn weakness.

Another volatile session may be in store for beef futures on Thursday, which is the last trading day for January. Also, February and April may continue to contest overhead moving average resistance boundaries.

Traders also track isolated fed cattle bids that cropped up Wednesday at $88 versus asking prices from $93 to $94.

And, market participants are mindful of the federal government's semi-annual cattle inventory report that is slated for release on Friday at 3 p.m. EST.

The six analysts' individual estimates for Friday's data are shown in percentages of a year ago and only for the first two categories.

. Average Range
All cattle & calves
99.5- 99.8
Annual calf crop
99.2- 99.6

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