The cash cattle trade remained untested Wednesday with some asking prices of $115 countered with bids of $110. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $1.84 lower compared with the Prior Day settlement ($55-$58.50, weighted average $57.65). After a two-day rally, corn futures retreated by 7 cents Wednesday, pressured by the new six- to 10-day forecast that takes a good deal of heat and dryness out of Corn Belt prospects. The stock market closed mixed with the Dow off 81 points and the Nasdaq up 35.
Live contracts came back to life Wednesday, pushing back toward the top of its summer-long price range. Some buyers may have been anticipating cash stability/firming later this week. Yet it wouldn't be the first time such a wager has been made this week without sending the board into a higher orbit. Beef cut-outs: lower, off $0.52 (choice: $203.75) to $0.80 (select: $197.58) with light-to-moderate demand and offerings (62 loads of choice cuts, 32 loads of select cuts, 19 loads of trimmings, 21 loads of ground beef).
THURSDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady. Packer inquiry could improve further Thursday, but few will be surprised if the establishment of significant trade volume is delayed until Friday.
Feeders soared higher at midweek (i.e., closing 152 to 250 in the green), propelled by recovering deferred live contracts as well as breaking corn prices. Spot August also seemed to find good buying support above its 40-day moving average. CME feeder index 07/31: $149.39, up $0.16.
With the exception of a 5-point gain in October, lean futures settled moderately lower (i.e., off 10 to 87). Unable to shake bearish third-quarter fundamentals, August and October once again set new contract lows. The carcass value closed modestly lower as softer demand for loins and picnics overshadowed strength in hams, ribs and bellies. Pork cut-out: $73.87, off $0.18. CME cash lean index for 07/30: $70.80, off $1.37 (DTN Projected lean index for 07/31: $69.98, off $0.82).
THURSDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
$1-$2 lower. Hog buyers continue to collect live inventory, and there is no reason to believe that procurement will suddenly get tougher Thursday.
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