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COMMODITIES : Cattle, Orange Juice and Precious Metals Advance

December 29, 1987|From Associated Press

Cattle and orange juice futures were hot commodities Monday, thanks to the wintry weather.

On other markets, precious metals futures were higher, while grains and stock index futures declined.

Cattle futures advanced the 1.5 cent-a-pound limit for daily trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before scaling back.

"The cattle people were looking for a firmer tone to the wholesale and live cattle markets," said Charlie Richardson, an analyst in Denver with Lind-Waldock & Co. "Then this blizzard definitely had an effect.

Severe weather is hard on the animals, killing some and limiting weight gain of others. Also, fewer animals are brought to market when travel is difficult.

Pork futures initially were higher on strength borrowed from the cattle pits. But expectations for a bearish pig report from the Agriculture Department next week helped keep prices down, said Richardson.

Live cattle futures settled 0.10 cent to 1.40 cents higher, with the February contract at 62.77 cents a pound; feeder cattle were 0.57 cent to 0.90 cent higher, with January at 75.17 cents a pound; live hogs were 0.45 cent lower to 0.30 cent higher, with February at 40.75 cents a pound, and frozen pork bellies were 0.15 cent to 0.52 cent lower, with February at 49.90 cents a pound.

'Muted Effect'

Cold weather in California sent some orange juice deliveries to contract highs on the Cotton Exchange in New York. However, the market gave back most of the gains by the close.

"A freeze in California certainly has a muted effect on the markets in comparison with Florida," said Judith Weissman Ganes, an analyst in New York with Shearson Lehman Bros.

Only about 25% of the California crop goes to juice, she said. But she said the theory is that if the California crop is tight, more of Florida's juice oranges will be sold on the fresh market.

Temperatures dropped to the mid 20s in some citrus areas and stayed in that range for six hours, a combination sufficient to damage the crop, she said.

Orange juice settled 0.15 cent to 1.65 cents higher with March at 170.65 cents a pound.

Energy Futures Decline

Grain and soybean futures prices retreated on the Chicago Board of Trade, with wheat losing as much as 7 cents a bushel.

The soybean complex "closed lower under a lot of long liquidation and profit taking ahead of the end of the year," said Victor Lespinasse, a trader with Dean Witter Reynolds.

Wheat was under pressure from the opening because the Commodity Credit Corp. sold 25.5 million bushels of the grain last week, he said.

Wheat settled 1 cent to 7 cents lower, with March at $3.08.25 a bushel; corn was 1.25 cent to 1.75 cent lower, with March at $1.8775 a bushel, and soybeans were 7.50 cents to 13 cents lower, with January at $5.9325 a bushel.

Precious metals futures advanced on the Commodity Exchange in New York.

Gold was $1.50 to $1.70 higher with December at $487.70 an ounce. Silver was 4 to 4.3 cents higher with December at $6.842 an ounce.

Trading of the Standard & Poor's 500 futures index on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange mirrored the decline of the Dow Jones industrial average.

Index futures were down 6.45 to 7.07 points lower with the spot index settling at 245.58 points.

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