Wide market shifts in lean hog futures seen early Thursday morning has reverted back to narrowly mixed price levels as traders seem to have slowed interest following the ability to cover initial short positions. Cattle markets are undeveloped in futures and cash trade with futures markets holding narrowly mixed moves. Corn prices are higher in light trade Tuesday. July corn futures are 3 cents higher. Stock markets are lower in light trade. The Dow Jones is 91 points lower while Nasdaq is down 20 points.
Strong gains seen earlier in the week have been limited by lackluster interest Thursday morning. Live cattle futures are stuck in a narrow, but sideways trading range during the first half of the session with prices seen from 22 cents lower to 20 cents higher. Narrow gains have offset morning losses in nearby contracts, as any position squaring following triple-digit market surges earlier in the week seem to be eroding. Little new market direction is seen across any live cattle contracts with traders focusing on the upcoming cattle on feed report and expectations of firming supplies over the next several months. Cash cattle bids have redeveloped in a similar range as seen earlier in the week, but at this point, packers seem unwilling to close the gap between bids and asking prices. This could limit any trade from developing until Friday. Bids are seen at $108 live and $170 to $173 dressed. Asking prices are holding at $114 and higher live and $180 and up dressed. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.27 Higher (select) and up $0.21 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 77 total loads reported (31 loads of choice cuts, 16 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 30 loads of ground beef).
Midday trade in feeder cattle futures is steady in nearby contracts. This is adding additional market uncertainty to the complex following a pullback in buyer interest through the morning. All remaining 2018 contracts are holding at $154 per cwt, with nearby contracts stuck in a very narrow trading range at midday from 15 cents lower to 12 cents higher.
Sharp gains seen early in the session Thursday have quickly eroded as buyer support has run out of gas, leaving uncertainty through the entire complex. Traders may focus on the inability to hold gains as a sign that increased market weakness may quickly develop across the complex in the near future. Trade volume remains extremely sluggish in all lean hog market contracts, which will add to price shifts over the next couple of days. Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $1.35 at $69.22 per cwt with the range from $65.00 to $70.50 on 5,208 head reported sold. Cash prices are lower on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $1.48 at $69.39 per cwt with the range from $65.00 to $70.50 on 3,310 head reported sold. The National Pork Plant Report posted 155 loads selling with carcass values adding $0.25 per cwt. Lean hog index for 7/17 is at $79.15 down 0.54 with a projected two-day index of $78.62, down 0.53.
Rick Kment can be reached at email@example.com
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