Livestock and meat futures prices moved in widely divergent directions Tuesday, with cattle touching limit declines and pork bellies advancing the limit allowed for daily trading.
The nearby cattle delivery slumped 1 1/2 cents a pound before trimming the loss somewhat on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
"The delivery period against the June contract is rapidly approaching," said Chuck Levitt, an analyst in Chicago with Shearson Lehman Bros. Consequently, he said, traders in long positions (holding net purchases over sales) were liquidating prior to the first delivery notices, which go out Wednesday afternoon.
In addition, cattle futures were pressured by a slow start this week in the movement of wholesale beef, Levitt said. Unlike cattle, pork bellies were up the 2 cents-a-pound daily trading limit. Data released after the close Friday showed that only sparse amounts of bellies were put into storage during April, Levitt said. Further, he said, "virtually no bellies" have been stored this month.
Grain and soybean futures prices were mostly lower on the Chicago Board of Trade. Corn and soybean prices were pressured early by widespread weekend rains, viewed as beneficial for the newly seeded fields.