Hogs Fall on Signs Meatpacker Demand Ebbs; Cattle Rise

Hog futures declined for the ninth time in 10 sessions on speculation that U.S. demand for the animals will wane. Cattle prices rose.

James Lochner, the chief operating officer at Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat processor, said today at a conference that beef and pork margins have narrowed. U.S. meatpackers slaughtered 831,000 hogs in the first two days of this week, down 1.7 percent from a year earlier, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show.

“Narrowing margins usually mean the packer doesn’t want to pay as much,” Lawrence Kane, a market adviser at Stewart-Peterson Group in Yates City, Illinois, said in a telephone interview. “If the packer is losing money, he’s going to tighten his bid.”

Hog futures for April settlement declined 0.4 percent to close at 81.575 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. This month, the price has slumped 8.7 percent, heading for the biggest decline since July.

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.7 percent to $1.293 a pound. The price climbed for the third straight session, the longest rally in three months. The commodity has dropped 2.3 percent this year.

Feeder-cattle futures for March settlement increased 0.3 percent to $1.41175 a pound.

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