CHICAGO, Feb 18 - Chicago Mercantile Exchange lumber futures closed lower on Thursday amid pressure from reports of slowing cash trade and possible easier prices as wholesalers discount their wood, traders said.
* Mills are holding asking prices for spruce steady due to large order files they still have to fill, but wholesales reducing prices as they looking for customers.
* CME March lumber 2LBH0 closed off $2 per thousand board feet at $270 per tbf and May 2LBK0 was off $5.10 at $283 per tbf. Both months slipped under their 10-day moving averages.
* Closely watched Random Lengths lumber report on Wednesday quoted cash spruce at $293 per tbf, unchanged from Friday. But the report did note two-tiered pricing was developing.
* Mills fell back on order files to keep prices firm. Two-tiered pricing developed, as secondaries offered lower prices and quicker shipments, the reporting agency said in its midweek report.
* Random Lengths will update the cash spruce price early on Friday.
* Meltdown in U.S. housing is over, but home prices are expected to mostly stagnate in 2010 as the sector slowly weans itself off government incentives, according to the latest Reuters poll. [ID:nN17159442] (Reporting by Jerry Bieszk; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)