The cash cattle trade is at a near standstill so far today in the wake of moderate to fairly active volume generated on Wednesday. Some are suggesting that between yesterday's movement and large formula resources, cash business may be done for the week. Yet we do see a small sample of bids repeated from Wednesday ($106 live; $170 dressed). Steers and heifers still on showlists are prices around $108 live and $172 plus dressed. According to the midday report, the national hog base is 0.84 lower compared with the Prior Day settlement ($69.00-76.50, weighted average $76.10). Corn futures are fractionally lower near the top of the noon hour as the trade list marks time before the release of Friday reports. The stock market is mixed near midday with the Dow off 11 points and the Nasdaq up 7.
Live futures open near flat, drifted some lower, but then began to attract buying interest. The market seems well supported at midday, up 20 to 85. Support seems linked to short covering and oversold charts. Beef cut-outs are mixed at midday, up 0.22 (select, $201.10) to off $1.01 (choice, $214.29) with light to moderate box movement (26 loads of choice cuts, 20 loads of select cuts, 4 loads of trimmings, 12 loads of coarse grinds).
Feeder contracts are also solidly higher at midday, up 37 to 107. Yet there's little here to suggest that the market is set to break out of a lateral trading range anytime soon.
Lean prices are mixed as we move into the session's final hour (up 90 to off 37). Spot July and August are well supported at the expense of deferred issues. Anticipating the confirmation of a huge spring pig crop by this afternoon's June 1 H&P report (to be released this afternoon at 2 CDT), the spread between summer and fall lean contracts continues to widen. Carcass value at midday is modestly higher with rib and ham weakness overshadowed by stronger demand for bellies, picnics, and fresh cuts. Pork cut-out: $87.86, up 0.20. CME cash lean index for 06/26: 84.82, off 0.81 (DTN Projected lean index for 06/27: 84.32, off 0.50).
John A. Harrington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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