CME cattle, hog futures end down on profit-taking

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle, feeder cattle and hog futures ended lower on Friday as profit-taking hit the livestock markets ahead of the weekend, traders said.

Live cattle futures consolidated after setting contract highs this week, traders said.

Most-active CME February live cattle finished 0.625 cent lower at 138.950 cents per pound. The contract pulled back after rising to its highest price since Monday earlier in the session. It ended 1.6% lower for the week, after commodity markets slid on Tuesday amid investor concerns over the new Omicron coronavirus variant.

CME December live cattle ended 0.025 cent higher at 137.675 cents per pound, though all other contracts were softer.

In the cash market, cattle traded for up to $142 per cwt this week in Texas and Kansas, up about $2 to $3 from last week, brokers said. The discount of futures to cash prices could be a sign that cash prices will pull back after rallying recently, a broker said.

Futures weakened even as the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that prices for choice cuts of beef shipped to wholesale buyers in large boxes rose by $2.34 to $274.36 per cwt. Prices for select cuts of boxed beef edged up $0.39 to $258.64 per cwt, the USDA said.

CME January feeder cattle dropped 1.650 cents to end at 164.125 cents per pound. The contract set a session low of 163.200 cents, its lowest price since Nov. 23. For the week, it lost 1.8%.

In the U.S. pork market, the wholesale carcass cutout price sank by $6.72 to $81.37 per cwt, the USDA said. Ham prices tumbled by $15.02 to $62.27 per cwt, while belly prices dropped by $10.54 to 127.30 per cwt.

CME February lean hogs settled 0.500 cents lower at 81.500 cents per pound, up about 0.6% for the week.