As of this writing, the last-minute cash cattle trade still looks very limited. Light-to-moderate trade volume has been reported in parts of Nebraska and Iowa (i.e., $166-$166.50 dressed/$106 live), but the lion's share of trading still waits to be born. Most showlists continue to be priced around $108 in the South and $170 in the North. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $0.80 lower ($49-$54, weighted average $52.95). The corn market finished fractionally higher in light volume. Closing at record levels, the Dow settled at 22,267, up 64 points. The Nasdaq advanced to 6,448, better by 19.
Live futures were all over the place through a choppy session as traders strained to hear reports of cash news. Although not much ever came in that regard, futures ultimately moved higher, closing mostly 50 to 105 points higher thanks to late short-covering and some level of cash optimism. Deferred contracts consistently gained on spot October through the week. Indeed, April 2018 will start out on Monday from its highest perch since July 19. Beef cut-outs: mixed, up $0.42 (choice, $191.42) to off $0.87 (select, $185.85) with light-to-moderate demand and offerings (59 loads of choice cuts, 22 loads of select cuts, 16 loads of trimmings, 19 loads of ground beef).
MONDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady/firm. Calling a trend for next week is tough given that cash on Friday remains on the dark side. Yet activity on Monday will be limited to the distribution of new showlists. At this time, our guess is that the mid-month offering could be somewhat larger, padded by a certain number of unsold steers and heifers carried over.
Feeders experienced the same herky-jerky action as their live counterparts, firming late at about the same time. Contracts settled impressively higher, up 92 to 142, supported by the new highs in deferred live issues and recent strength in the cash index. Popping back over 150, October closed at its highest level since July 21. CME cash feeder index: 09/14: $149.73, up $0.27.
Lean hog issues closed sharply higher, up 92 to 195 in the first six contracts. Besides late-week short-covering and profit-taking, buying interest here seemed spurred by spillover strength from the cattle complex. The carcass value imploded further Friday, pressured by struggling demand for bellies, hams and loins. Pork cut-out: $77.75, off $1.44. CME cash lean index for 09/13: $65.12, off $1.22 (DTN Projected lean index for 09/14: $64.07, off $1.08).
MONDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
$1-$2 lower. The cash hog trade will probably open on Monday with another round of lower bids.
John A. Harrington can be reached at email@example.com
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