DTN Midday Livestock Comments

Firm Gains Develop in Light Volume Across Cattle Futures

Rick Kment
By  Rick Kment , DTN Analyst
(DTN photo by Russ Quinn)

Light gains are holding in cattle futures with extremely light volume developing through the morning. The inability to spark increased market interest at the end of the week may limit overall activity early next week and overall follow-through support. Corn prices are higher in light trade. July corn futures are 6 cents higher. Stock markets are higher in light trade. The Dow Jones is 163 points higher while Nasdaq is up 46 points.


Trade volume is sluggish with no additional fundamental or technical market direction developing through the complex. This is keeping traders on the sidelines for the most part and overall market activity very light. Volume remains light through the morning, which has allowed prices to hold moderate gains and prices to keep these moderate price moves in a sluggish shift. But the overall lack of direction may limit movement at the end of the session. June contracts are expected to close above $123 per cwt which will be supportive and could bring additional commercial interest to the market next week. Cash cattle trade appears to be done for the week with total sales in Nebraska expected to be over 25,000 head according to some additional seen overnight. With prices falling generally $8 per cwt in the North from last week, and $3.50 to $4 in the South, packers seem to be sitting pretty good for the time being, and willing to hold off until next week. Beef cut-outs at midday are steady to lower, $0.50 lower (select) and down $0.24 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 61 total loads reported (38 loads of choice cuts, 18 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 5 loads of ground beef).


Light midday gains are starting to trickle into front month May contracts due more to lack of market activity than anything else. This could draw additional support back into the complex. The rest of the market is holding firm gains which have been in place through early trade, but unable to show significant market volume during the Friday session. Gains in August through November contracts are trading in a tight trading range from 70 to 90 cents per cwt although market activity remains extremely light.


Trade activity remains inactive through the futures complex with narrowly mixed moved holding across the entire complex. This limited activity is keeping the entire market sluggish as traders seem to be looking into next week already as they have already stepped out of the market for the most part. June contracts remain moderately lower in the same range as seen through much of the morning with a 30 cent loss, holding just below $79 per cwt while the rest of the summer contracts are holding steady to slight gains but still generally inactive This inability to move markets significantly will keep markets quiet through the end of the session. Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price lost $0.52 at $70.11 per cwt with the range from $66.00 to $71.50 on 2,151 head reported sold. Cash prices are lower on the Iowa Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price lost $0.63 at $70.50 per cwt with the range from $66.00 to $71.50 on 261 head reported sold. The National Pork Plant Report reported 141 loads selling with prices adding 0.25 per cwt. Lean hog index for 5/17 is at $74.92 up $0.78 with a projected two-day index of $75.55 down $0.63.

Rick Kment can be reached at rick.kment@dtn.com


Rick Kment