DTN Midday Livestock Comments

Market Softness Sweeps Through Cattle Trade

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

Livestock futures are mixed with cattle trade quickly giving back most of the early gains. The limited interest across the complex continues to focus on the ability to draw additional trader activity through the last hour of trade. Corn prices are lower in light trade. March corn futures are 1-cent lower Wednesday. Stock markets are lower in light trade. The Dow Jones is 260 points lower, while Nasdaq is down 6 points.


Firm gains have developed with April live cattle futures holding a $1.17 per cwt rally. The support that developed early in the session in other contracts has quickly eroded, as prices are now mixed in a narrow trading range. Prices may continue to bounce higher and lower through the end of the session as increased market activity continues to develop. Cash cattle bids are seen in the north following the early week trade that developed Tuesday. Bids are seen at $128 live basis and $204-to-$205 dressed. This is similar to the high end of the range seen in early week trade. Asking prices are holding at $129-to-$130 per cwt live, and $207 and higher dressed. The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction Wednesday listed a total of 113 head, with 113 actually sold, zero head listed as unsold, and zero head listed as PO (Passed Offer). The state by state breakdown looks like this: KS 113 total head, with 113 head sold at $127.00, zero head unsold, zero head listed as PO; NE -- no cattle reported; TX -- no cattle reported; CO -- no cattle reported; IA -- no cattle reported; other states (OK, SD, MN) -- no cattle reported. The delivery date/weighted averages breakdown is as listed: 1-to-9 day delivery: 113 head total, 113 head sold, with a weighted average price of $127.00; 1-to-17 day delivery -- no cattle reported 10-to-17 day delivery -- no cattle reported; 17-to-30 day delivery -- no cattle reported. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.56 higher (select) and up $1.13 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 72 total loads reported (37 loads of choice cuts, 16 loads of select cuts, six loads of trimmings, 12 loads of ground beef).


Early triple-digit gains have quickly eroded through late morning, with prices now mixed as all contracts have given back the gains over $1 per cwt. It is uncertain if buyers will step back into the market through the end of the session as limited trade direction is being seen. Nearby contracts are steady to 50 cents per cwt higher, with differed contracts holding losses of 2-to-40 cents per cwt.


Nearby futures are steady to moderately lower with April futures holding losses of 60 cents per cwt. Light buyer support continues to hold in deferred contracts due to extremely light trade activity. The firm gains in the adjoining cattle complex have allowed for buyers to focus on increased buying activity through the hog market Wednesday. Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.98 at $58.60 per cwt with the range from $54.00-to-$59.04 on 3,852 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 179 loads selling with carcass values falling $1.77 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 rick.kment@dtn.com


Rick Kment