DTN Midday Livestock Comments

Hog Futures Erode on Fundamental Uncertainty

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

Sharp early losses in hog trade have slowly but steadily eroded through the morning with mixed prices developing at midday. Traders continue to try to square positions ahead of the weekend, following an extremely wild market swing. Cattle trade is lightly traded with narrow gains seen Friday morning. Corn futures are lower in light trade. May corn futures are 1 cent lower. Stock markets are higher in light trade. Dow Jones is 228 points higher with Nasdaq up 24 points.


Sluggish market activity is seen Friday morning with prices 20 to 50 cents higher at midday. The wide market shifts seen over the last few days in hog trade has seemingly allowed cattle trade to wander in a narrowly mixed range through much of the week. This late week support is helping to square positions from the last couple of days, but little market direction is developing. This could add even more uncertainty to the entire complex over the next couple of days, but prices remain range bound, and unlikely to break out of current boundries. Cash cattle trade in the north continues to be delayed with a few bids redeveloping at $126 to $127 live and $203 to $204 dressed. Asking prices are generally firm at $128 live and $206 to $207 dressed. It could be late afternoon before deals get done. Trade in the south may be essentially done for the week with bids undeveloped in Kansas and Texas over the last two days. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are mixed, $1.83 higher (select) and down $0.10 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 90 total loads reported (55 loads of choice cuts, 9 loads of select cuts, 7 loads of trimmings, 19 loads of ground beef).


Sluggish market activity is seen Friday morning with traders seemingly focused on very little additional long-term direction as prices are mixed from 27 cents lower to 57 cents higher. The limited support in live cattle trade combined with sluggish market interest is allowing for summer contracts to hold limited buyer interest going into the weekend. Although the latest round of winter weather through much of the Northern Midwest will affect overall herd health, it is unlikely that this will have a significant widespread market impact on overall cattle prices.


Lean hog futures are hovering in a widely mixed trading range through the morning Friday. Traders quickly stepped into the complex with aggressive selling interest as prices posted losses as much as $2.60 per cwt in the early minutes of trade. But the overall lack of liquidation moving into the market made the aggressive losses erode quickly. Prices are mixed to mostly lower with May through August contracts are holding moderate losses as traders focus on increased volatility during the week. It is uncertain just how much stability will be seen over the next couple of days as traders assess further possible sales to China. Cash prices are higher on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price added $1.13 at $75.69 per cwt with the range from $67.00 to $77.00, on 3,195 head reported sold. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. Pork values surged higher following Thursday's market rally and export news. Pork cutouts added $2.25 per cwt at $86.68 per cwt with 199 loads traded. Lean hog index for 4/10 is $79.36 up 0.07, with a projected two-day index is $79.34 down 0.02.

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


Rick Kment