DTN Midday Livestock Comments

Narrowly Mixed Trade Seen Early Wednesday

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

Narrow trading ranges are seen in most livestock markets as prices mixed in both live cattle and lean hog future at midday. The overall lack of direction in the complex continues to keep markets under pressure given the recent sharp losses in all markets through the end of July. September corn futures are 2 cents lower. Stock markets are mixed in light trade. The Dow Jones is 81 points lower while Nasdaq is down 9 points.


Moderate pressure in grain trade seen Wednesday morning has helped to bring additional buyer support back to nearby live cattle futures. August and October futures are holding light gains, although the ability to bring active support to the entire cattle market remains generally weak. Narrow trading ranges are expected through the rest of the session with traders focusing on long-term beef demand through the end of the year as well as overall supply levels available through early 2019. Trade ranges are expected to remain narrow over the near future with very limited volume likely over the next couple of hours. Cash cattle interest remains sluggish following a few scattered bids moving into the market through the morning Wednesday. Bids are seen at $108 to $110 live and $173 dressed. This is well below asking prices of $114 to $115 live and $182 dressed. It is expected that active trade will not be seen until late in the week. The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction today listed a total of 1,060 head, with 851 actually sold, with a weighted average of $110.07, 209 head listed as unsold, and zero head listed as PO (Passed Offer). The state by state breakdown looks like this: KS 448 total head, with 294 head sold at $110.00-$110.25, 154 head unsold; NE 557 total head, with 557 head sold at $110; TX - no cattle reported; CO - no cattle reported; IA - no cattle reported; other states 55 total head, with zero head sold, 55 head unsold. All cattle listed were for 1-9 day delivery. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are mixed, $0.76 higher (select) and down $0.03 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 77 total loads reported (43 loads of choice cuts, 13 loads of select cuts, 8 loads of trimmings, 13 loads of ground beef).


Feeder cattle prices have bounced around in a moderate trading range through the morning with price bouncing from moderate losses to moderate to firm gains during morning activity. The limited price moves seen in live cattle has created additional uncertainty to the entire cattle complex. Although the stronger grain trade which developed Tuesday and added sharp pressure to cattle markets has eased Wednesday morning, there still remains very limited interest in bringing buyers back to the table.


Following sharp losses through early-morning trade, lean hog futures have posted mixed market shifts in a moderate range. August futures have quickly backed away from triple-digit losses as initial trade liquidation seemed to ease slightly and has allowed buyers to move back into the market. October and December contracts are most evident of this activity with traders holding gains of 20 to 50 cents per cwt. This may add some uncertainty to the complex as trades look for additional longer-term direction, and more urgently, focus on building a sense of stability in the complex. This may be a work in progress during early August as the market tone still remains extremely weak. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the National Direct morning cash hog report. Cash prices are unreported on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The National Pork Plant Report posted 163 loads selling with carcass values gaining $1.85 per cwt. Lean hog index for 7/30 is at $70.80 down 1.37 with a projected two-day index of $69.98, down 0.82.

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


Rick Kment