Light-to-moderate packer inquiry seemed to develop through midmorning (especially in parts of the North), but it never managed to spark much selling interest. Indeed, what little sex appeal bids sported in the early rounds pretty much vanished once the air came out of an early board rally. The national hog base is $0.84 lower ($49-$55, weighted average $53.71). Corn futures finished generally 2-3 cents higher, supported in part by aggressive buying interest in the bean market. Equities closed mixed with the Dow closing 45 points higher (at yet another record high) and the Nasdaq faltering by 31.
For a minute there, it looked like cattle bulls were ready to bust through the top of a month-long trade range. But when overhead resistance once again proved too formidable, buying interest quickly dried up. When the dust finally settled, contracts landed mostly 27 to 107 in the red. Nearby contracts suffered the worst case of bearish whiplash with December closing 215 points below its early high. Beef cut-outs: mixed, up $0.60 (choice, $191) to off $1.97 (select, $186.72) with light-to-moderate demand and heavy offerings (119 loads of choice cuts, 43 loads of select cuts, 10 loads of trimmings, 26 loads of ground beef).
FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady. The cash cattle trade is moving into its eleventh hour. Buyers and sellers will need to come to terms sometime Friday in order to move at least light to moderate numbers.
Like the trade in live paper, feeders would have fared much better if the close had come several hours earlier. After fading from an early rally, feeder contracts settled mostly 2 to 47 lower (and as much as $1 below session highs). Only spot Sep closed in the green (i.e., up 20 points), supported by the premium of the cash index. CME cash feeder index: 09/13: $149.46, up $0.44.
Lean futures once again closed on a mixed basis, mostly up 62 to off 55. Deferred months generally held up better than October and December. The front-end continues to be pressured by relentlessly bear fundamentals and bear-spreading interest. The carcass value lost more than a dollar Thursday thanks to struggling demand for ribs, bellies and butts. Pork cut-out: $79.20, off $1.10. CME cash lean index for 09/12: $66.37, off $1 (DTN Projected lean index for 09/13: $65.12, off $1.22).
FRIDAYS CASH HOG CALL:
$1-$2 lower. Lower country bids have become like a bad bearish stutter that won't go away. Look for the late-week cash trade to be more of the same.
John A. Harrington can be reached at email@example.com
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