Feedlot activity was limited to the distribution of new showlists. The pre-Christmas offering appears to be generally smaller than last week with only Nebraska showing more marketable steers and heifers. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $0.08 lower ($50-$57.87, weighted average $56.05). Cheered by the pending passage of major tax legislation, the stock market again ran to new highs. Corn futures settled fractionally lower at the end of a typically lackluster late-year trading session. The Dow closed at another new record at 24,792, up 140 points. The Nasdaq jumped by 58.
New year premiums took quite a hit as spot December blasted 107 points higher while 2018 issues faltered by 12 to 42. Fairly aggressive fall placement activity will probably be underscored by new on-feed data set to be released Friday afternoon at 2 (CST). The question of how much beef demand it will take to handle Jan-Mar 2018 tonnages looms larger and larger. Beef cut-outs: significantly higher, up $1.28 (choice: $203.15) to $1.76 (choice: $185.01) with moderate to good demand and moderate offerings (55 loads of choice cuts, 36 loads of select cuts, 9 loads of trimmings, 10 loads of ground beef).
TUESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady to $2 higher. Although business may develop this week earlier than normal, our guess is that bids and asking prices will remain poorly defined throughout Tuesday.
Feeder futures opened higher but closed moderately lower (i.e., prices settled mostly 10 to 85 in the red). On an estimated run of 6,200 head (down from 7,127 last week but up from 3,130 in 2016), Oklahoma City sold feeders on an unevenly steady basis. Trade on calves was mixed, steady to $1 higher on steers and steady to $1 lower on heifers. CME cash feeder index: 12/15: $152.62, off $1.78.
Lean futures closed mostly 7 to 112 points lower with spot Feb losing a great deal of ground to deferreds. Nearby issues seemed to be pressured by the recent erosion of the cash index and caution before Friday's unveiling of the Dec. 1 H&P report. The carcass value closed substantially lower, pressured by losses in all primals except the butt. Pork cut-out: $75.86, off $1.71. CME cash lean index for 12/14: $64.11, off $0.53 (DTN Projected lean index for 12/15: $63.18, off $0.93).
TUESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
Steady to $1 lower. Look for hog buyers to resume work in the morning with steady/weak bids, mindful of tightening margins and lackluster product demand.
John Harrington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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