LIVESTOCK-U.S. live cattle futures end higher on gains in cash

* CME feeders find support from lower CBOT corn
    * Hog futures narrowly mixed

    By Meredith Davis
    CHICAGO, Nov 29 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live
cattle futures closed higher in thin trading on Friday supported
by stronger cash cattle prices, traders said.
    Beef packers this week paid $132 per cwt for cattle in the
U.S. Plains, up $1 from last week's trade, feedlot sources said.
U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed some sales at $133
per cwt in Nebraska, up $2 from the previous week. 
     Cash cattle prices have hovered at or near record levels in
	
recent weeks. Longer term cash prices should find support from the small U.S. cattle herd and high beef prices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Friday morning wholesale beef price, or boxed beef, was at $202.98 per cwt for choice cuts, up 43 cents from Wednesday. Select cuts rose 8 cents to $190.28 per cwt. USDA was closed on Thursday's holiday. "The beef market is on fire. It is going up by leaps and bounds," said Joe Ocrant, Oak Investment Group president. The strength in the wholesale beef price is driven by grocers building up beef inventories after the Thanksgiving holiday, Ocrant said. Traders have their eyes on the 6- to 10-day weather forecast for the U.S. Midwest and Plains regions as extreme cold and wintry weather is expected there. "Weather projections look extremely cold. If that is the case we could see weight come off these animals as they come into slaughter," said Domenic Varricchio, commodities broker at Schwieterman, Inc. Cattle weight gain can slow in cold weather as they eat to stay warm rather than to gain weight. December cattle futures settled up 0.375 cent at 133.475 cents per lb. February cattle settled up 0.150 cent at 134.250 cents.
CME feeder cattle followed live cattle futures higher. Weak Chicago Board of Trade corn futures also lent support. January feeder cattle settled up 0.150 cent at 165.475 cents per lb, while March settled up 0.525 cent at 165.675. CME livestock futures traded in truncated sessions on Friday, closing at 12:15 p.m. CST. CME HOGS END MIXED CME hog futures settled narrowly mixed in light trading. Front-month December traded at more than a 4-cent premium to CME's lean hog index of 80.97 cents which pressured the contract. "That index is the biggest weight (on futures), they have to come together in three weeks," Varricchio said. Strength in the cash hog market lent some support to hog futures. Cash hog prices, as reported by the USDA in the closely watched Iowa/Minnesota direct market, jumped $3.24 on Friday morning to $83.24 per cwt. Hogs in the U.S. Midwest traded steady to $1 higher as packers booked supplies for next week, hog brokers said. Some traders anticipate softer cash prices in coming weeks as record heavy hogs create ample pork in the meat pipeline. Continued concerns regarding the spread of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), a fatal piglet disease, lent some support to deferred-month hogs. The disease could reduce
hog supplies in 2014. December hog futures closed down 0.125 cent at 85.675 cents per lb. February hogs closed up 0.100 cent at 90.575 cents. (Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)

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