Cattle buying inquiry improved some Thursday, at least in terms of numbers of bids thrown on the table. Still, these token bids were never in any danger of provoking selling interest. For example, common live bids of $111 were at least $5 below most asking prices. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $0.42 lower ($59-$66.50, weighted average $65.14). Corn futures settled fractionally lower as traders pretty much ignored the threat of adverse harvest weather. Equities closed mixed with the Dow up 71 points and the Nasdaq off by 7.
Live contracts closed sharply higher with the first four months scoring triple-digit gains. February and April once again notched new contract highs. The bullish activity was powered by fund-buying, aggressive short-covering and cash optimism. Beef cut-outs: mixed, up $202.37 (choice: $202.37) to off $0.48 (select: $191.91) with moderate to good demand and offerings (85 loads of choice cuts, 26 loads of select cuts, 3 loads of trimmings, 21 loads of ground beef).
FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
$1-$3 higher. Higher bids are expected to surface sometime before the weekend break, at least long enough for packers to cover short-term slaughter needs.
Following the bullish lead of their live counterparts, feeder futures advanced by 42 to 122 points. The mounting premiums of deferred live contracts as well as the listless behavior of the corn market as it plows through the harvest period clearly worked to excite commercial buying interest here. CME cash feeder index: 10/25: $154.40, off $0.18.
Supported by follow-through buying and export optimism, lean issues settled 15 to 92 higher. For the second consecutive session, February through June won new contract highs. Spot December scored its highest close since July 7. The carcass value bolted more than a buck higher, supported by both processing items and fresh cuts. Pork cut-out: $76.35, off $0.11. CME cash lean index for 10/24: $67.32, up $1.22 (DTN Projected lean index for 10/25: $68.28, up $0.96).
FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
Steady. Opening bids in the morning should be near steady since packers seem to be reasonable covered in terms of Saturday and early week kill needs.
John Harrington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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