DTN Closing Livestock Comments

Lean Hog Futures Launch New Week With Bullish Explosion

(DTN file photo)


Feedlot country was typically quiet with activity limited to the gathering of new showlists. Thanks to slow country movement last week, all major feeding states are offering more ready steers and heifers for sale than last week. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $0.17 lower ($76-$84, weighted average $82.80). Corn futures closed a nickel plus lower, pressured by further liquidation by noncommercials and good early season growing conditions. The stock market closed mixed with the Dow off 103 points and the Nasdaq ending near steady.


Live cattle issues closed on a mixed basis with final prices ranging from 55 higher to 45 lower. June and August just keep moving back and forth with a lateral trading range, waiting for cash to wither breakdown big time or show more convincing signs of a market bottom. Beef cut-outs: mixed, up $1.47 (select: $204.20) to off $0.88 (choice: $220.71) with light-to-moderate demand and offerings (51 loads of choice cuts, 26 loads of select cuts, 19 loads of trimmings, 14 loads of ground beef).


Steady to $2 lower. While Tuesdays are famous for their cash inactivity, many argue that country business will probably start earlier this week thanks to last week's poor trade volume. Our guess is that we could have some reportable business as early as Wednesday.


Feeder contracts closed mostly higher in nearby issues and some lower in the far deferreds. Spot August finally managed to close over 62 retracement of the first-quarter sell-off. Supported by short-covering, technical-buying and faltering corn prices, August scored its best settlement since March 12 (i.e., $148.97, up 100). On an estimated run of 8,000 head (down from 9,220 last week and 6,695 in 2917), Oklahoma City sold feeder steers and heifers mostly steady to $3 higher. CME feeder index 06/15: $141.20, up $0.55.


The remarkable march of cash strength through the first half of June worked to lift early week lean futures sharply higher. For the most part, lean futures settled 30 to 200 points higher with bull-spreaders pushing nearby issues far ahead of deferreds. Spot July landed it highest close since Feb. 23. August managed to pull itself back over the 100-day moving average. Carcass value closed higher thanks primarily to solid belly demand, strong enough to overshadow loin and ham weakness. Pork cut-out: $82.40, up $0.71. CME cash lean index for 06/14: $81.44, up $1.35 (DTN Projected lean index for 06/15: $82.86, up $1.42).


Steady to $1 higher. Opening bids in the morning should be firm to a buck higher. Margin-stressed packers tried lower bids on Monday, but they didn't move many numbers.

John A. Harrington can be reached at john.harrington@dtn.com