Strong losses have quickly developed across the feeder cattle and live cattle futures complex. This is limiting additional market support that just days ago seemed so promising. There is some stability trying to develop in hog futures, although the weaker tone is keeping prices lower at midday. Corn prices are higher in light trade. March corn futures are 5 cents higher Thursday. Stock markets are mixed in light trade. The Dow Jones is 60 points lower while Nasdaq is up 16 points.
Live cattle futures have quickly and aggressively moved lower through late-morning trade Thursday. This is bringing additional long-term market concerns back to the complex as traders focus on current and potential follow-through weakness that may develop over the next few days. Cash cattle trade developed Thursday morning with all areas posting moderate trade volumes. Prices are generally steady with last week cash markets with live trade seen at $126 to $127 while dressed trade is reported at $204 per cwt. There could be some additional clean up activity, but the tone is expected to have been set following this morning's trade. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are mixed, $2.25 higher (select) and down $0.09 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 92 total loads reported (61 loads of choice cuts, 12 loads of select cuts, 7 loads of trimmings, 11 loads of ground beef).
Sharp losses have quickly been seen through the entire cattle market Thursday. This has been led by aggressive triple-digit losses in feeder cattle markets with most futures contracts holding losses of $2.50 to $3 per cwt. The concern that additional widespread market pressure is likely to develop through the end of the week and potentially through much of March seems to be the main driver of the most recent liquidation.
Light pressure is holding in nearby contracts following the aggressive losses which developed at opening bell. The inability to break through support levels has seemed to create a calmness to the entire market. April futures are holding a 17 cent loss, while the rest of the complex is still trading moderately lower with 30 to 80 cent losses developing midday. Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is up $0.86 at $61.92 per cwt with the range from $56.00 to $62.58 on 3,804 head reported sold. Cash prices are lower on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $1.87 at $61.03 per cwt with the range from $56.00 to $62.58 on 778 head reported sold. The National Pork Plant Report posted 142 loads selling with carcass values falling $2.45 per cwt. Lean hog index for 3/5 is at $67.52, down 0.17 with a projected two-day index of $67.66, up 0.15.
Rick Kment can be reached at email@example.com
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