If possible, Thursday's cash cattle market seemed even slower than the do-nothing business of Wednesday. A few packers renewed Wednesday's unattractive bids, but others didn't even bother to open their mouth. Most showlists were priced around $115 live in the South and $183 plus dressed in the North. The limited buying interest idly splashed around miles below these levels. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $0.81 lower ($75-$83.50, weighted average $81.74). Corn futures finished 2-3 cents higher, supported by oversold conditions and ideas of an abundance of risky growing conditions ahead. The stock market closed lower with the Dow off by 196 points and the Nasdaq down by 68.
For the most part, live cattle issues closed moderately lower, off 52. Given the uncertainties surrounding both cash market potential and Friday's June 1 on-feed report, it seemed like neither side was very interested in pressing arguments. Beef cut-outs: mixed, up $0.56 (select: $201.61) to off $0.88 (choice: $217.41) with light to moderate demand and offerings (55 loads of choice cuts, 21 loads of select cuts, 9 loads of trimmings, 15 loads of ground beef).
FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady to $2 lower. Whether you call it the eleventh hour, the fifteenth round or the bottom of the ninth, Friday stands to be a critical moment for the cash cattle trade when some business interest will have to surface.
Feeder futures settled moderately lower, off 27 to 95 with nearby losing more ground than deferreds. CME feeder index 06/20: $142.21, up $0.80.
Lean hog issues closed on a mixed basis, up 57 to off 67. July through October gained on back months thanks to bull-spreading and nervousness regarding growing late-year supplies and the uncertain timing of new additions to total chain speed. Carcass value closed modestly higher as stronger processing items (especially ham cuts) offset losses in loins, butts, picnics and ribs. Pork cut-out: $85.04, up $0.16. CME cash lean index for 06/19: $85.14, up $1.09 (DTN Projected lean index for 06/20: $85.79, up $0.65).
FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
Steady to $1 lower. Expect hog buyers to complete procurement chores for the week with steady/weak bids. Slaughter needs for Saturday will be minimal.
John A. Harrington can be reached at email@example.com
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