For the most part, showlists in cattle country remain in pristine condition, unsoiled by the mark of commerce. The week-long standoff will have to end sometime today, but so far Friday morning significant packers bids remain few and far between. Ready steers and heifers are priced around $119 to $120 in the South and $190-plus in the North. Needless to say, both sides will be looking for board action that might be their late-week leverage. Significant trade volume could easily be postponed until late this afternoon. The cash hog trade has opened Friday morning with bids ranging from steady to $1 lower. Most of the buying effort seems around steady to .50 lower. Corn futures are fractionally higher in the early rounds, supported somewhat by announced export sales. Equities are bouncing higher so far this morning with the Dow 120 points higher and the Nasdaq better by 17.
Live issues are moving higher in the early rounds †hanks to follow-through buying and short-covering. Yet the action is likely to remain slow and possibly choppy as traders wait for the cash market to count the votes and announce winners and losers. Open interest on Thursday decreased by 672 (337,573). Spot December liquidated by 728 (8,325) and February lost 1,201 (130,145). DTN projected slaughter for today is 118,000 head.
Feeders are moderately higher as of this writing, supported by late-week profiting taking and initial encouragement from deferred live futures. Open interest on Thursday increased by 266 (54,190). CME cash feeder index for 12/13: 154.31, up .67.
Lean contracts are mostly lower in the early going, possibly because new spot February looks a bit rich compared with the cash index. Yet volume seems this thin and the question of a late-year cash bottom undecided. Open interest on Thursday decreased by 3,159 (240,575). New spot February lost 1,349 (93,263) and April decreased by 920 (59,062). Cash lean index 12/13: 64.64, off .22. DTN projected slaughter for today is 463,000 head. Saturday's kill should total close to 247,000.
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