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Cattle Futures Gain on Signs of Increasing Animal Demand

Cattle futures fell to the lowest in more than a week on signs that U.S. beef demand is faltering after a runup since mid-April. Hogs also declined.

Wholesale beef fell 0.6 percent to $2.0042 a pound as of midday, the first drop since April 19, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Prices rose 4.6 percent last week to the highest since at least January 2004, government data show.

“The seasonal demand is upon us, but it’s probably not going to last long,” Dennis Smith, an analyst at Archer Financial Services, said in a telephone interview. “The beef market is bumping up against some pretty major resistance levels. Maybe a lot of traders just don’t believe it’s going to carry through much further.”

Cattle futures for June delivery fell 0.4 percent to settle at $1.213 a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. After the close of regular trading, prices reached $1.21, the lowest for the most-active contract since April 24. Earlier, the price rose as much as 0.7 percent. The commodity has climbed 5.1 percent in the past 12 months.

Feeder-cattle futures for August settlement slipped less than 0.1 percent to $1.4745 a pound.

Hog futures for June settlement declined 0.9 percent to close at 91.325 cents a pound. The price has climbed 6.5 percent this year.

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