Cattle futures rose for the second time in three sessions on signs of fewer animals available for slaughter next month. Hogs declined.
Feedlots had 11.3 million head of cattle as of Dec. 1, down 6 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Dec. 21. Futures advanced to a record $1.345 a pound on Dec. 19.
“I think the market remains firm once we get into January as they have substantially less contract cattle around for the first couple months of next year,” Troy Vetterkind, the owner of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage LLC, said in a report.
Cattle futures for February delivery rose 0.4 percent to settle at $1.33775 at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price is up 10 percent this year. The market was closed yesterday for Christmas.
Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement gained 0.4 percent to $1.54875 a pound.
Hog futures for February settlement fell 0.1 percent to 87.45 cents a pound. The most-active contract has gained 3.7 percent this year.