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LIVESTOCK-Live cattle futures turn lower after setting contract highs

By Tom Polansek

CHICAGO, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures ended mostly lower on profit-taking on Tuesday as the market pulled back from contract highs, analysts said.

The market consolidated after recent gains, though analysts said cash cattle prices are expected to strengthen this week.

Most actively traded December live cattle ended 0.825 cent lower at 153.300 cents per lb, after reaching a contract high of 154.200 cents earlier in the session. February live cattle matched a contract high of 157.050 cents from Monday before ending down 0.275 cent at 156.700 cents.

Thinly traded October live cattle pared gains after hitting the highest price for a spot contract since 2015 at 151.800 cents. The contract settled 0.075 cent higher at 151.675 cents per lb.

Concerns about tightening cattle supplies have underpinned futures prices, as U.S. ranchers are reducing their herds due to drought.

CME November feeder cattle ended 1.225 cents lower at 177.925 cents per lb. January feeders posted steeper losses of 1.700 cents and closed at 180.250 cents per lb. The contract pulled back after matching a one-month high from Monday.

Margins for beef processors improved to $56.45 per head of cattle from $31.55 on Monday and $7.40 a week ago, livestock marketing advisory service said.

For pork processors, margins turned positive to $7.10 per hog from losses of $3.40 on Monday, said. A week ago, margins were $19.20 per hog.

In the pork market, lean hog futures were mildly higher. The December hogs contract edged up 0.525 cent to close at 88.450 cents per lb. The market is consolidating after surging above a two-month high on Friday, a broker said. (Reporting by Tom Polansek; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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