Cattle: Steady Futures: Mixed Live Equiv: $220.09 -$0.15*
Hogs: Lower Futures: Mixed Lean Equiv: $90.76 +$0.66**
*Based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue. (The Live Cattle Equiv. Index has been updated to depict recent changes in live cattle weights and grading percentages.)
** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue.
The very limited business Thursday in cash cattle was in line with what took place Wednesday with live cattle in the South at $170 and dressed in the North at $280. Nothing solid was established. Feedlots are holding out for at least steady to $1.00 higher. Packers want to improve margins. Boxed beef prices were higher Thursday with choice up $0.16 and select up $0.72. Weekly export sales were up 5% from the previous week with net sales of 17,400 metric tons (mt). Feeder cattle were propelled higher as futures pushed through contract highs, hitting stops, and increasing buying interest. Some of the strength could be from a delayed reaction to the substantial weakness of corn Wednesday. Feeders remain in strong demand at auctions. Traders are looking ahead to the Cattle on Feed report to be released Friday afternoon, which could temper price movement. Estimates are for on-feed numbers May 1 at 96.5%; placements in April at 96.4%; marketings in April at 90.2%.
Hogs showed clear evidence of spreads trading with August and October taking the brunt of selling with June and July and then later contracts holding strength. It will be difficult to determine which way the market will go Friday, depending on the focus of traders. The National Direct Afternoon Hog report showed cash down $5.76. Cutouts were higher with a gain of $0.66. Weekly exports sales provided some support with net sales of 31,900 mt, up 6% from the previous week with China the second largest buyer.
|BULL SIDE||BEAR SIDE|
Feeder cattle pushed quickly through previous contract highs to establish new highs. This provides solid technical support.
If cash cattle trade lower this week, there could be some selling pressure put on the market.
Limited cash cattle trade has been steady with last week. If this holds, it should provide support to the market.
Price movement in cattle futures might be limited as traders prepare for the Cattle on Feed report after the market closes.
Some hog contracts rejected follow-through selling to close higher. This may limit further downside price weakness.
The sharp decline of cash hogs Thursday indicates packers have their needs for the week and will likely bid lower Friday.
Traders may focus on stronger cutouts and be more aggressive buyers of hog futures.
Fund traders remain bearish and show no interest in covering their short positions. This may limit upside potential.
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For our next livestock update, please visit our Midday Livestock comments between 11 a.m. and noon CST. Also, stay tuned to our Quick Takes throughout the day for periodic updates on the futures markets.
Robin Schmahl can be reached at email@example.com
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