Livestock and meat prices were mostly lower Wednesday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, even though cash cattle prices have remained firm this week.
Much of the selling appeared to be coming from traders who follow such technical factors as trends on price charts, said Robin Fuller, a livestock analyst in Chicago with Agri-Analysis.
She noted that prices had weakened Tuesday, and many traders already were nervous about holding positions because of the large number of contracts that have been opened during the recent rally.
Traders feared that many of the contracts were speculative positions, which could lead to a sharp break in prices if speculators decided to sell out.
Cash cattle prices remained firm, but traders are concerned that a government report later this month will show a heavy increase in the number of cattle on feed lots, Fuller said.
Hogs and pork bellies were lower. Sellers in those pits also were encouraged by trends on price charts, Fuller said, while heavy sales of live hogs on country wholesale markets this week added to the pressure.