Firm gains are seen through the live cattle and feeder cattle trade as buyers are starting to regroup and move back into the market following sluggish market moves over the past couple of days. Lean hog futures are mixed in narrow to moderate range with April futures holding a 50 cent gains, while deferred futures held moderate pressure. Corn markets are lower in light trade. March corn futures are 5 cents lower. Stock markets are higher in light trade. Dow Jones is 44 points higher with Nasdaq up 4 points.
Live cattle futures have inched higher through the morning with no significant market surge seen through the morning. February futures are holding a 60 cent per cwt gain, which is moving prices to $125.50 per cwt. This renewed buyer activity has broken through previous contract highs, allowing for increased trade support to develop late in the week. A close higher for the week would likely spark additional underlying support through the entire complex, sparking potential support through the rest of the month. Cash cattle markets are starting to show more live Friday morning, although sales are still elusive. Bids are active in all areas with live bids at $120 to $122 per cwt, with dressed bids of $195 to $197 seen. Asking prices are holding at $125 to $126 live and $200 dressed. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are lower, $0.63 lower (select) and down $1.14 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 59 total loads reported (33 loads of choice cuts, 6 loads of select cuts, 6 loads of trimmings, 14 loads of ground beef).
Mixed trade is seen in feeder cattle futures midday Friday following prices shifting back and forth in a narrow range. January futures are holding limit losses following increased support in corn trade Friday morning. The strong gains seen live cattle futures is helping to bring about underlying support through the rest of the complex. Trade is expected to remain contained from 30 cents lower to 30 cents higher through most of the session.
Firm pressure is holding in lean hog futures with most contracts holding triple-digit losses Friday morning. Front-month February futures are holding a $1.55 per cwt loss, moving to $62.50 per cwt as spillover weakness continues to be seen through the complex. Even with the aggressive triple-digit losses, nearby contracts are still trading higher for the week given the strong market surge over the last few days. Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.40 at $50.68 per cwt with the range from $47.00 to $51.12 on 4,148 head reported sold. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. Pork carcass values are higher on the morning report with prices surging $2.59 per cwt at $73.05 per cwt with 170 loads traded. Lean hog index for 1/09 is $55.99, up 0.89, with a projected two-day index is $56.69, up 0.70.
Rick Kment can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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