Cattle futures prices generally rose Monday following a government report that indicated fewer animals than expected will be available in the coming months.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report late Friday showing a the number of cattle placed on feedlots during July was down 18% from a year earlier while the market had been predicting an 8% drop. That tended to boost prices for contracts with distant delivery months, said Robin Fuller, an analyst in Chicago with Shearson Lehman Bros.
But the near-month contract was depressed by the USDA's report that the number of animals sold off the feedlots last month was the same as in July 1986, and the market had been expecting an increase of 2% to 3%.
Fuller said an increasing flow of hogs to market was tending to depress hog futures, but that was being largely offset because futures prices were much lower than cash prices.
Traders said an unexpectedly sharp decline in cash prices for fresh pork bellies drove the August belly futures contract down the maximum daily limit of 2 cents a pound.