Active support has flooded into lean hog futures trade with April through June contracts posting gains above $2 per cwt. April contracts are flirting with limit gains with prices currently $2.70 per cwt higher. Cattle trade is mixed to mostly higher as traders try to cover short positions in front of the long weekend, as markets will remain closed Monday. Corn markets are higher in light trade. March corn futures are 1 1/2 cent higher. Stock markets are higher in light trade. Dow Jones is 283 points higher with Nasdaq up 81 points.
Mixed trade is seen late Friday morning as market activity is limited and most prices have shifted higher in light to moderate activity. There is growing support in all spring and summer contracts, although gains have been limited to 10 to 40 cents per cwt in most contract months. The overall support through the market may add firmness to trade when traders move back into the market next week Tuesday. Cash trade bids are seen in a few areas midmorning with live bids holding at $122 per cwt while dressed bids are at $195 in Nebraska. This a moderate pullback from bids earlier in the week, although current bids are still a long way from asking prices. Even though asking prices are not as firm as previous days, feedlot managers are likely to be unwilling to ratchet prices lower at this point. Current asking prices are seen from $127 to $130 live and $200 and higher dressed. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $1.95 higher (select) and up $0.37 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 47 total loads reported (23 loads of choice cuts, 10 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 14 loads of ground beef).
Light buyer activity is slowly resurfacing in feeder cattle trade following the sharp triple-digit losses Thursday. Limited volume is seen through the morning as traders prepare for the extended weekend, as markets will remain closed Monday. This move higher is not expected to break away from the previous pressure and overall weaker tone of the complex, but could help to give some hope that market stability is being sought by traders Friday.
Sharp gains have quickly swept through the complex Friday morning following limited initial trade. Similar to the last couple of trading sessions, it is expected that overall volume will remain light Friday, but traders may still focus on increased underlying support through the entire complex. This may add even more volatility to the complex as April futures are swiftly progressing toward limit gains with prices currently $2.75 per cwt higher. A close with limit gains would create even more volatility to the market, allowing expanded trading limits Tuesday when markets reopen. With an extended gap for traders to assess market direction over the next couple of days, this may add uncertainty to the market. Cash prices are higher on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is up $0.23 at $51.63 per cwt with the range from $46.00 to $53.00 on 3,527 head reported sold. Cash prices unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. Pork carcass values are lower on the morning report with prices slipping $0.51 per cwt at $69.59 per cwt with 127 loads traded. Lean hog index for 1/16 is $58.18, up 0.16, with a projected two-day index is unavailable at this time.
Rick Kment can be reached at email@example.com
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