LIVESTOCK-Live cattle hit 3-month peak on firm cash market, stimulus

By Karl Plume

CHICAGO, Dec 28 (Reuters) - U.S. cattle futures reached the highest level in nearly three months on Monday, rising for the seventh time in eight sessions on firming cash market prices and hopes for improving beef demand after President Donald Trump signed a fresh stimulus package into law over the weekend.

Beef packers will be buying cattle for normal slaughter schedules after the year-end holidays, while winter weather is expected to slow marketings in some parts of the Plains.

Futures market participation was lighter than normal as many traders remain on holiday, with markets closed this Friday for New Year's Day.

"A lot of what we're seeing in the livestock is simple year-end positioning," said Karl Setzer, commodity risk analyst with AgriVisor.

"The stimulus package gave the market a fair amount of support today. If people have a bit more money in their pockets, they're more inclined to spend it on New Year's Eve steaks, or maybe going out," he said.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange February live cattle futures gained 0.800 cent to settle at 115.775 cents per pound. The contract broke through technical chart resistance around the 115-cent mark and peaked at 116.300 cents, its highest level since Oct. 1.

CME March feeder cattle added 0.275 cent to close at 142.600 cents per pound.

Lean hog futures fell for a second straight session, pressured by weak cash market prices and technical selling.

CME February lean hogs fell 0.450 cent to 66.500 cents per pound. The contract broke through technical chart support at its 50- and 100-day moving averages during the session, which accelerated selling at times.

(Reporting by Karl Plume in Chicago Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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