CME live cattle futures trade mixed; hogs drop

May 15 (Reuters) – Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures traded mixed on Thursday as investors adjusted positions before the U.S. Department of Agriculture issues the monthly Cattle-On-Feed report on Friday, traders said.

* Analysts expect the data to show cattle placements last month declined from April 2013 after several years of drought in parts of the United States reduced the herd to a 63-year low.

* CME live cattle drew support from their discounts to last week’s cash prices, but were pressured by profit-taking.

* U.S. Department of Agriculture export data on Thursday for the week ended May 8 showed U.S. beef sales at 12,700 tonnes, mostly to Japan, compared with 12,500 tonnes the week before.

* At 8:31 a.m. CDT (1331 GMT), June was up 0.100 cent per lb at 137.550 cents, and August was down 0.050 cent to 138.350 cents.

* Investors look for cash cattle this week to trade steady to lower, based on negative packer margins and sluggish wholesale beef sales, traders said.

* Packers will avoid raising cash cattle bids in anticipation of a seasonal increase in supplies soon, they said.

* There were no cash cattle bids from packers in response to sellers asking $148 per cwt in Texas and Kansas, feedlot sources said.

* Last week, cash cattle in the southern Plains moved at $146 per cwt, and up to $150 in Nebraska.

* FEEDER CATTLE – May was at 185.825 cents, up 0.425 cent per lb. August was 0.700 cent higher at 193.150.

* Weak corn prices and tight feeder cattle supply expectations lifted CME feeder cattle to a new high.

* LEAN HOGS – June was 0.825 cent lower at 119.750 cents, and July dropped 0.625 cent at 126.275 cents.

* CME hog futures sagged, weighed down by their premiums to the exchange’s hog index at 113.32 cents, traders said.

* Wednesday’s lower cash hog prices, as packers try to realign their margins, added more pressure to hog contracts, they said.

* USDA’s export data showed U.S. pork sales at 8,000 tonnes, mostly to Mexico, compared with 9,600 tonnes the week before. (Reporting by Theopolis Waters in Chicago; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)

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