Narrow trading ranges are seen through cattle trade as traders take advantage of profit-taking opportunities following the recent surge higher. Aggressive buyer activity in hog markets is stealing the spotlight Tuesday morning with triple-digit gains holding in most nearby contracts. Corn markets are higher in light trade. March corn futures are 5 cents higher. Stock markets are higher in light trade. Dow Jones is 324 points higher with Nasdaq up 93 points.
Light pressure is slowly trickling into live cattle trade late morning with most contracts steady to 15 cents per cwt lower. The underlying pressure in the complex is more focused on adjusting positions following early week gains with increased underlying pressure developing through the complex. Cash cattle activity remains sluggish with just a few token bids developing in the North at $198 dressed. In general, bids and asking prices still remain generally unavailable, and may remain that way until later in the week. Active trade is likely to be pushed off until Thursday or Friday. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are mixed, $0.15 lower (select) and up $0.65 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 65 total loads reported (42 loads of choice cuts, 12 loads of select cuts, 4 loads of trimmings, 6 loads of ground beef).
Following limited early-morning losses, light buyer support has redeveloped despite renewed interest in grain markets. Corn futures are holding a 5 cent gain through morning trade, which is expected to add increased production costs to the cattle complex. But the underlying firm tone in the complex is minimizing the impact of this with March futures holding narrow 20 cent losses, while the rest of the complex is steady to 40 cents higher. Traders in most summer and fall contracts continue to focus on expected demand support, and long-term market strength.
LEAN HOGS: Sharp triple-digit gains are seen in nearby contracts with April through August futures holding gains of $1.80 to $2.07 per cwt. Lightly traded February futures remain dead in the water with very limited trade in the soon to expire contract. This is keeping February futures steady at $55.17 per cwt, with April markets drawing widespread support. This has moved prices above $61 per cwt with traders looking for increased underlying support through the entire complex. Cash prices are unavailable at this time on the National Direct morning cash hog report. Cash prices are unavailable at this time on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. Pork carcass values surged higher on the morning report with prices adding $2.14 per cwt at $67.60 per cwt with 212 loads traded. Lean hog index for 2/8 is $56.14, down $0.39, with a projected two-day index is $55.91, down $0.23.
Rick Kment can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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