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LIVESTOCK-Live cattle futures rise 2% on U.S. feedlot data, beef prices

By Julie Ingwersen

CHICAGO, Nov 23 (Reuters) - U.S. cattle futures closed higher on Monday, buoyed by Friday's supportive monthly cattle-on-feed report, rising wholesale beef prices and strength on Wall Street tied to hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine, traders said.

"All of the above (suggest) optimism for the meat market," said Jason Roose, analyst and broker with Iowa-based U.S. Commodities.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange February live cattle futures settled up 2.250 cents, about 2%, at 112.900 cents per pound.

The February contract gapped higher at Monday's open after the U.S. Department of Agriculture late Friday reported smaller numbers of U.S. cattle on feed as of Nov. 1, and fewer cattle placed in feedlots during October, than analysts had expected on average.

"The last couple cattle-on-feed reports showed big placements, but this one had less," Roose said.

Wholesale beef prices continue to rise. Choice cuts were up $3.25 on Monday afternoon at $241.60 per cwt, the highest since June. Select cuts were up $2.50 at $217.48, according to USDA data.

CME January feeder cattle settled up 3.225 cents at 137.825 cents per pound.

Lean hog futures rose on short-covering and spillover strength from the cattle market. February lean hogs settled up 1.775 cents at 67.125 cents per pound.

After Monday's close, the USDA reported Oct. 31 stocks of frozen U.S. pork bellies at 19.684 million pounds, down 21% from last month and down 57% from last year.

Total pounds of beef in freezers totaled 500.473 million pounds, up 8% from the previous month and up 7% from last year, the USDA said. (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen; editing by Richard Pullin)

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