LIVESTOCK-US live cattle dip but post weekly rise of 3 pct
* Big weekly rise prompts investors to take profits * Futures jump to record high, then retreat * Fallen corn prices lift feeder cattle futures * Hogs wilt on profit taking, down for the week By Theopolis Waters CHICAGO, Jan 4 (Reuters) - CME live cattle futures slid Friday as investors took profits from a big run-up and potential buyers were cautious as prices notched the biggest weekly percentage rise in four months, analysts and traders said. Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle finished the week up 3 percent, the highest one-week gain since Sept. 9. Before a late retreat, CME live cattle hit an all-time high for a third day in a row at 134.325 cents, fueled by a tight supply outlook after drought last summer lifted feed costs to record highs. Subsequent losses allowed February and April futures to fall below their 10-day moving averages of 133.21 and 136.95 cents, triggering fund selling. Spot February live cattle closed 0.900 cent per lb lower at 132.950 cents. April ended at 136.775 cents, down 0.550 cent. Investors were concerned about futures' near-term premium to cash prices that are expected to trade steady to higher against last week's $127 per cwt sales. "Cash is going to eventually catch up to where the futures are at. The market will be alright as we get through January," said Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage president Troy Vetterkind. Cash bids in Kansas stand at $125, a feedlot manager said. There were no bids reported by feedlot sources e lsewhere in the Plains where animals are priced at $130 or more. Packers are booking cattle for next week, the first full week of slaughters since plants shutdown during the Christmas and New Year's holidays. But, unstable wholesale beef prices and poor, but improving, margins could limit packers' spending for supplies. The price for wholesale choice beef Friday morning was $194.82 per cwt, off 9 cents per cwt from Thursday at $194.82; select cuts slid $1.13 to $182.15, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. HedgersEdge.com put the average beef packer margin for Friday at a negative $50.70 per head, compared with a negative $55.15 on Thursday and a negative $62.60 on Dec. 28. CME feeder cattle moved higher, and gained 0.84 percent for the week, as corn prices drifted lower. Spot January ended 0.825 cents per lb higher at 153.175 cents. Most-actively traded March was 1.425 cents higher at 156.325 cents. HOGS WILT ON PROFIT TAKING Hogs at the CME slipped on profit taking and fund selling, snapping the market's four-day winning streak and sending them down 0.60 percent for the week. February settled off 0.175 cent per lb at 86.225 cents. April ended at 89.850 cents, 0.325 cent lower. Some packers lower bids for cash hogs after padding inventories for Saturday's slaughter estimated by USDA at 325,000-head. However, renewed pork demand from retailers could prompt other processors to raise cash hog bids next week despite their unprofitable margins. The average pork packer margin for Friday was a negative $3.25 per head, compared with a $7.05 on Thursday and a negative $5.70 on Dec. 27, according to HedgersEdge.com.
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