DTN Midday Livestock Comments

Sharp Gains Push Hog Trade Higher

Rick Kment
By  Rick Kment , DTN Analyst
(DTN photo by Russ Quinn)

Strong midweek gains have flooded into the complex with traders looking for increased buyer activity as triple-digit gains have developed in hog trade while the focus on additional longer-term support is pushing cattle markets higher. Corn prices are steady to higher in light trade. March corn futures 1/4 cent higher Wednesday. Stock markets are higher in light trade. The Dow Jones is 30 points higher while Nasdaq is up 72 points.


Moderate to strong buyer activity is moving into the live cattle market. There is concern about the longevity of the market gains and just how much additional commercial interest will develop over the next few days. But if buyers are able to hold previous support levels, there is likely to be some additional long term buyers moving into the complex in the coming weeks. Cash cattle markets are still quiet with a few token bids developing in the South at $124 per cwt. This is not expected to gain much attention as asking prices remain near $130 per cwt on a live basis. Active trade is likely to be pushed off until sometime Thursday or Friday. The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction today listed a total of 255 head, with 0 actually sold, 164 head listed as unsold, and 91 head listed as PO (Passed Offer). The state by state breakdown looks like this: KS 255 total head, with 0 head sold, 164 head unsold, 91 head listed as PO ($124.00); NE -- no cattle reported; TX -- no cattle reported; CO -- no cattle reported; IA -- no cattle reported; other states -- no cattle reported. The delivery date/weighted averages breakdown is as listed: 1-9 day delivery: 255 head total, 0 head sold; 1-17 day delivery -- no cattle reported; 10-17 day delivery -- no cattle reported; 17-30 day delivery -- no cattle reported. Boxed beef cut-outs at midday are mixed, $0.50 lower (select) and up $0.09 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 68 total loads reported (36 loads of choice cuts, 10 loads of select cuts, 8 loads of trimmings, 14 loads of ground beef).


Strong buyer interest is quickly moving into the market Wednesday with increased focus on the ability to bring additional trade support to the market. This may add longer-term support with triple-digit gains seen in nearby futures. The firmness in the live cattle trade seems to be the main focus of most traders are this point. There is still some uncertainty as to how fundamentals will remain supported through the end of the month, but fresh buyer activity seen in nearby contracts is helping to offset any market concerns.


Triple-digit gains have held across lean hog futures markets as strong commercial buyer support is moving back into the market. There is growing support to push price levels off of recent market lows, and continued buying is the best way to build market confidence. Spring and summer contracts are holding $1.50 to $1.60 per cwt gains which may draw additional late day buying to the complex. Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.73 at $67.00 per cwt with the range from $60.00 to $68.50 on 5,431 head reported sold. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The National Pork Plant Report posted 222 loads selling with carcass values adding $0.42 per cwt. Lean hog index for 2/12 is at $74.30, down 0.42 with a projected two-day index of $74.01, down 0.29.

Rick Kment can be reached at rick.kment@dtn.com


Rick Kment