Live Cattle to 2-week Low on Bearish U.S. Placements Data; Hogs Fall

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle futures fell on Monday, with the benchmark April contract touching a two-week low following Friday's bearish Cattle on Feed report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, traders said.

The government on Friday reported that 2.068 million head of cattle were placed on feed last month, up 4.4 percent from a year earlier and the highest January placements figure since 2006.

Follow-through selling after Friday's disappointing weekly USDA beef export sales data added to bearish sentiment in live cattle futures.

"That's two weeks in a row of weak beef export sales," said Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale Inc.

Most-active CME April live cattle settled down 0.850 cent at 124.0 cents per pound. Feeder cattle and lean hog futures also ended lower.

CME April feeder cattle settled down 0.550 cent at 147.950 cents per pound. Front-month March feeders finished down 0.450 cent at 145.550.

Hog futures fell, snapping a four-session rally in the April contract. CME April lean hogs ended down 1.425 cents to 69.950 cents per pound.

However, cash hogs in Iowa and Minnesota traded 17 cents higher on Monday from the previous day, the USDA said, a potentially supportive signal for futures.

"Today there was disappointment (among futures traders) that we had not yet seen strength in cash hogs, but now that may change," Nelson said.