DTN Midday Livestock Comments

Cattle Futures Erode Midday Wednesday

Rick Kment
By  Rick Kment , DTN Analyst
(DTN photo by Russ Quinn)

Moderate gains are seen in lean hog trade. The overall lack of active traders moving into the markets has pulled prices well off of early morning highs. Cattle trade started firm, but has eroded quickly following moderate to strong pressure in feeder cattle trade. Corn prices are higher in light trade Wednesday. July corn futures are 6 cents higher. Stock markets are mixed in light trade. The Dow Jones is 37 points lower while Nasdaq is up 49 points.


Mixed trade is seen through the entire live cattle complex. This overall lack of support in the entire complex focused on the limited trade volume seen through the morning. The pullback in feeder cattle futures has quickly changed the tone of the market late morning with prices holding 10 to 20 cent losses in October through April futures. Even with mixed prices, very little long-term direction is seen in the complex as traders try to focus on the recent market strength seen during early July, while concerns of a potential pullback are sparking some selling activity. Cash cattle bids have redeveloped Wednesday morning although overall interest in the market remains light. Bids are seen at $110 live basis and $175 dressed. Asking prices remain well above current bids with feeders looking for prices near $115 and higher live and $183 dressed. Active trade may not be seen until Thursday or Friday. The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction today listed a total of 1,249 head, with zero actually sold, 1,187 head listed as unsold, and 62 head listed as PO (Passed Offer). The state-by-state breakdown looks like this: KS 413 total head, with zero head sold, 351 head unsold, 62 head listed as PO ($111.00); NE - no cattle reported; TX 114 total head, with zero head sold, 114 head unsold, and zero head listed as PO; CO - no cattle reported; IA 651 total head, with zero head sold, 651 head unsold, and zero head listed as PO; other states (OK) 71 total head, with zero head sold, 71 head unsold, and zero head listed as PO. Asking prices ranged from 111.00-115.00. All cattle listed are for 1-9 day delivery. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.10 higher (select) and up $0.31 per cwt (choice) with active movement of 102 total loads reported (53 loads of choice cuts, 29 loads of select cuts, 9 loads of trimmings, 11 loads of ground beef).


Early morning support quickly erodes in feeder cattle trade with prices 30 to 40 cents lower midday. The overall pressure has slowed through the last hour of trade with prices posting losses double the current market pressure as traders have moved in and out of the complex with very limited long-term support seen in the complex. Trades appear to be attempting to create some market stability midweek following the recent market pullbacks over the last couple of days. With all nearby contract trading in a narrow trading range from $152 to $154 per cwt, the complex is still trading near the top end of the market range. But steady cattle supplies have limited the optimism in the complex.


Firm gains have held through morning trade in all lean hog futures. This is limiting overall trade interest in the complex, although traders seem to be more focused on the ability to step back into the market and establish market positions rather than the price moves themselves. Consistent buying is seen through the morning, which is likely to help draw additional buyer activity into the market over the next couple hours. Prices are seen 40 to 80 cents per cwt, with increased focus on moving front-month contracts higher in a consistent and steady market shift. Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $1.09 at $64.99 per cwt with the range from $62.00 to $67.50 on 3,410 head reported sold. Cash prices are lower on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.90 at $65.68 per cwt with the range from $65.00 to $67.50 on 1,050 head reported sold. The National Pork Plant Report posted 160 loads selling with carcass values gaining $1.53 per cwt. Lean hog index for 7/23 is at $76.17 down 0.73 with a projected two-day index of $75.23, down 0.94.

Rick Kment can be reached at rick.kment@dtn.com


Rick Kment