The cash cattle trade remained untested with bids and asking prices separated by as much as $7 on a live basis (e.g., $108 versus $115). According to the closing report, the national hog base is $1.32 lower compared with the Prior Day settlement ($65-$72.99, weighted average $69.25). Corn futures closed generally 4 cents higher, supported dry weather forecasts, especially in the Southern Plains. The stock market closed lower with the Dow off 134 points and the Nasdaq down by 29.
While watching price-change was clearly a slow sport, at the end of the day, we were impressed with how well the board held together in the wake of Thursday's major surge forward. At the close of business, live contracts were mixed, up 22 to off 60. The lackluster action seemed reasonable given the pending questions of cash news and cattle reports. Beef cut-outs: lower, off $0.17 (select: $196.92) to $0.31 (choice: $204.49) with light-to-moderate demand and moderate-to-heavy offerings (77 loads of choice cuts, 36 loads of select cuts, 10 loads of trimmings, 42 loads of ground beef).
FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady to $2 higher. Once again, cattle buyers are set to play the role of last-minute shoppers. Indeed, if the board stays firm, we may not see much action until after the on-feed report is released at 2:00 p.m. CDT.
Feeders mirrored their live counterparts Thursday in terms of narrow trading ranges and slow volume. Price changes ranged from 20 points higher to 32 lower. CME feeder index 07/18: $148.31, off $0.28.
Trading ideas here represented a motley crew with no dominant feature evident. At the end of the discombobulated session, settling prices ranged from 67 points higher to 15 lower. Carcass value closed moderately higher with all primals scoring some progress except the rib and the butt. Pork cut-out: $82.69, up $0.34. CME cash lean index for 07/17: $79.15, off $0.54 (DTN Projected lean index for 07/18: $78.62, off $0.53).
FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
Steady to $1 lower. Lower bids have served hog buyers well this week, so they'll probably remain in that gear through Friday.
John A. Harrington can be reached at email@example.com
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