LIVESTOCK-Report positioning extends U.S. hog futures gains

* USDA quarterly hog report set for Friday
    * Cash optimism underpins CME live cattle
    * Feeder cattle mostly lower as corn rises

    By Theopolis Waters
    CHICAGO, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange hog
futures on Wednesday gained for a third day in row as
investors adjusted positions ahead of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture quarterly hogs report on Friday, traders said.
    Analysts looked for the report to show that while spread of
the deadly Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) led to a
near-term shortage of hogs, their numbers are expected to grow
	
longer term given cheaper feed. October futures' discount to the CME's hog index, which was at 98.05 cents, encouraged buyers. October hogs finished 1.200 cents per lb higher at 93.700 cents. It hit a new contract high of 93.750 cents in after-hours trading. December closed at 88.600 cents, up 0.525 cents after spiking to a fresh contract high of 89.000 cents. Uncertainty regarding cash hog prices and weaker wholesale pork values stirred profit taking that pulled futures from morning highs, traders said. USDA's Wednesday morning Midwest direct market hog prices were unavailable. Separate U.S. government data showed the wholesale pork price, or cutout, Wednesday morning at $99.29 per cwt, down 85 cents from Tuesday. Spread traders sold deep-deferred contracts and bought nearby months in anticipation of increased hog production as feed becomes more affordable. CATTLE UP WITH CASH HOPES Steady-to-higher cash expectations landed CME live cattle futures in positive territory for a sixth straight session, analysts and traders said. They said investors bought far-month live cattle contracts in anticipation of tighter supplies during that period. Profit taking and the belief that futures are too pricey based on last week's cash cattle returns at times pressured futures. October closed up 0.225 cent per lb to 127.550
cents. December finished at 131.275 cents, up 0.050 cent. Futures' recent win streak may prompt packers to pay up for supplies, despite their unprofitable margins and lukewarm beef demand, a trader said. Cash cattle bids in Texas and Kansas surfaced at $123 per cwt with no response from sellers, feedlot sources said. Last week, cash cattle moved at $124 in Texas and Kansas and at $125 in Nebraska. USDA data on Wednesday morning showed the wholesale choice beef price, or cutout, at $193.32 per cwt, down 45 cents from Tuesday. Select cuts gained 32 cents to $177.37. Estimated margins for U.S. beef packers on Wednesday were a negative $3.70 per head, compared with a negative $1.40 on Tuesday and a negative $3.20 a week ago, according to HedgersEdge.com. The September feeder cattle contract closed 0.725 cent higher at 158.675 cents, supported by steady to $2 per cwt higher cash feeder cattle prices in local markets. Profit taking and firmer corn prices undercut remaining feeder cattle contracts. Expensive feed can increase input costs for feedlot operators. October ended 0.850 cent per lb lower at 162.925 cents while November settled 0.700 cent lower at 164.050 cents. (Editing by James Dalgleish)

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