The Thursday cash trade proved every bit as quiet as Monday, perhaps more so because it even lacked the paper shuffle of new showlists being distribution. Guess what: This means that the stage is set for yet another round of Friday negotiations. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $1.41 lower compared with the Prior Day settlement ($53-57.50, weighted average $56.22). For the most part, corn futures settled several cents higher, pulling back a nickel plus from the highs of the day. Near the close, corn suffered when bullish wheat shirttails started to droop. The stock market closed mixed with the Dow off 7 points and the Nasdaq up 95.
Action here was pretty lackluster Thursday with final settlements generally lower, but not enough to really rock the boat in one direction or the other. October and December closed essentially smack-dab in the middle of a price range that that has ebbed and flowed since Memorial Day. Spot August settled more toward that top of that range. The sluggish action suggested that both sides were waiting for some real cash news they could chew on. Beef cut-outs: mixed, up $0.05 (choice: $203.80) to off $0.48 (select: $197.10) with light-to-moderate demand and offerings (66 loads of choice cuts, 40 loads of select cuts, 7 loads of trimmings, 11 loads of ground beef).
FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady/firm. The combination of short-bought packers and the quickly expiring hourglass probably mean that late-week country sales will be no worse than steady. Yet is it possible that trade volume could once again be light? Most certainly.
Feeders settled moderately lower, off 10 to 62. Nearbys generally lost ground to deferreds. While it's not much of an accolade, spot August once again tested supported near its 40-day moving average and managed to close above it. CME feeder index 08/01: $149.13, off $0.26.
Pressured by an unforgiving combination of fundamentals and technical factors, lean hog futures closed significantly lower, off 17 to 127. Triple-digit losses dominated the front of the board will all three 2018 issues setting new contracts lows. The carcass value closed moderately lower, pressured by softer demand for butts, ribs and picnics. Pork cut-out: $73.24, off $0.63. CME cash lean index for 07/31: $69.98, off $0.82). (DTN Projected lean index for 08/01: $68.91, off $1.07).
FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
$1-$2 lower. Look for bearish-minded packers to start out in the morning with yet another round of significantly lower bids in the country.
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