Cattle futures prices advanced Tuesday on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, reflecting better prices on the cash markets.
Among other commodities, grain and soybean futures were mostly lower, energy futures were mixed in a very narrow range and gold advanced in light trading.
"Decent carcass beef movement" along with the higher prices for cash cattle gave the futures market a firm footing, said Tom O'Hare, an analyst in New York with Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co. Boxed beef also was moving well, he said.
The number of animals being slaughtered is up from a year ago, he pointed out, and when this is considered along with the better wholesale beef market, a healthy picture emerges.
Buying was active at the feedlots, where there is no backup of market-ready cattle.
Hog futures were not as strong, he said, partly because of technical market factors and because of seasonal increases in the kill. Usually there are 100,000 more hogs slaughter each week in March than in February, O'Hare said.
Grain and soybean futures prices were mostly lower on the Chicago Board of Trade.