Livestock markets are mixed at midday with firm gains holding in lean hog futures, despite increased pressure seen across the entire cattle complex. Trade should remain sluggish and the early tone of the market should carry through until closing bell. Corn prices are higher in light trade. March corn futures are 2 cents higher Tuesday. Stock markets are higher in light trade. The Dow Jones is 30 points higher while Nasdaq is up 2 points.
Light losses have slowly developed through the complex as traders continue to focus on the inability to draw support back into the market. Some uncertainty continues with traders focusing on longer-term direction over the next couple of days. Cash cattle bids have redeveloped Tuesday in the South at $125 per cwt. This is an improvement to Monday's bids, but still unable to draw much attention from sellers. It is likely active trade will not develop until the second half of the week with feedlot managers willing to dig in their heels with current asking prices. Asking prices are still generally hard to get hold of, but expected to be near $130 live basis. Boxed beef cut-outs at midday are mixed, $0.19 lower (select) and up $0.11 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 60 total loads reported (25 loads of choice cuts, 17 loads of select cuts, 5 loads of trimmings, 13 loads of ground beef).
Feeder cattle futures are leading the cattle complex lower with triple-digit losses seen in most contracts. Traders have pulled back from session lows with overall lack of support across the complex. The focus on pressure in late 2018 contracts is limiting buyer activity through the entire complex.
Limited buyer support has held through the lean hog futures complex with traders focusing on the ability to draw additional traders to the complex. This may help to stabilize the market over the near future. Light buyer support should hold through the end of the session. Cash prices are lower on the national direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $1.00 at $59.50 per cwt with the range from $54.00 to $60.50 on 5,813 head reported sold. Cash prices are lower on the Iowa/Minnesota direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.89 at $59.36 per cwt with the range from $54.00 to $60.50 on 3,008 head reported sold. The National Pork Plant Report posted 196 loads selling with carcass values gaining $0.97 per cwt. Lean hog index for 3/9 is at $67.05, down 0.47 with a projected two-day index of $66.67, down 0.38.
Rick Kment can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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