DTN Midday Livestock Comments

Continued Weakness Develops in Hog Futures

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

Firm follow-through pressure is developing in the already bearish lean hog trade. This additional softness has had the greatest impact on summer contracts through morning trade with triple-digit losses seen in June through August futures. Cattle futures are holding firm gains in limited activity. Strong 80-to-90 cent gains are seen in nearby trade as traders focus on end-of-week position adjustments. Corn markets are lower in light trade. March corn futures are 2 1/2 cents lower. Stock markets are lower in light trade. Dow Jones is 176 points lower with Nasdaq down 31 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Strong renewed buyer support has quickly developed late-week. April contracts are leading the complex higher with traders focusing on the potential for higher cash cattle trade at the end of the week and underlying short and long-term support still holding for beef values. Limited direction is seen in deferred contracts with light gains of 10 to 30 cents are following the firm market tone in nearby trade. Cash cattle bids are improving through the morning, but at this point no sales have been reported. Bids are listed at $121 to $123 live and $198 dressed. Activity is expected sometime this afternoon. Asking prices are holding at $126 and higher live and $203 and higher dressed. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are lower, $0.49 lower (select) and down $1.00 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 46 total loads reported (28 loads of choice cuts, 6 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 12 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Feeder cattle futures have bounced higher with moderate to strong support seen in all feeder cattle futures. This has pushed most contracts 80 to 90 cents per cwt higher following no major surprises in the USDA crop production or supply and demand reports. The limited movement in grain trade is looked at as a bullish factor in cattle trade where traders are focusing on short- and long-term production costs.

LEAN HOGS:

Firm follow-through pressure has continued to develop in all but lightly traded February futures. The most aggressive pressure is seen in summer contracts with triple-digit losses holding in June through August trade. This has added increased underlying softness through the entire complex as traders continue to search for any sense of market support with little positive news available in the market Friday morning. Cash prices are higher on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is up $0.09 at $49.65 per cwt, with the range from $45.00 to $50.00 on 4,473 head reported sold. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. Pork carcass values are lower on the morning report with prices falling $0.94 per cwt at $64.17 per cwt with 147 loads traded. Lean hog index for 2/5 is $57.16, down $0.20, with a projected two-day index is $56.89, down $0.27.

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

(CZ)

Rick Kment