DTN Livestock Close: Lean Hogs Slump Lower
Lean hog contracts closed significantly lower with triple-digit losses recorded by May through July. On the other hand, some cattle futures settled with solid progress supported by cash premiums and technical buying.
Midday: Market activity Friday is extremely sluggish with much of the attention seemingly based on Basketball game results and St. Patty’s Day celebrations. This light trade has allowed for mixed price shifts across the livestock market due to limited resistance.
Livestock futures are mixed Friday morning as light trade volume is limiting overall market activity and interest. Moderate to strong losses have been seen in lean hog trade with prices 80 cents to $1 per cwt lower. The support seen over the last few days in cattle markets is redeveloping due to sluggish trade volume and no significant depth between early price pressure.
Corn prices are steady to higher in light trade. March corn futures are steady. Stock markets are higher in light trade. The Dow Jones is 2 points higher while Nasdaq is up 2 points.
Moderate gains are holding in live cattle futures with the overall tone of the market generally sluggish. There is likely to be some narrow to moderate price shifts through the end of the session, but little direction changes are expected due to the firm cash market support and supportive beef values in the morning boxed beef report.
April futures are holding a 45 cent per cwt rally with the overall tone of the market steady to 50 cents higher in most contracts. This combined with the light trade in outside markets will likely allow markets to coast into closing bell.
Cash markets may draw some additional trade activity in the North with bids seen through the morning at $130 to $131 live basis and $210 dressed basis. The tone of the market is expected to have been set Wednesday, but the ability to gain additional cattle is on packers minds through the end of the week. Asking prices are at $132 and higher live basis and $212 per cwt dressed.
Beef cut-outs at midday are higher $1.04 Higher (select) and up $0.82 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 47 total loads reported (25 loads of choice cuts, 10 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 12 loads of ground beef).
The few buyers that did step back into the feeder cattle market Friday morning have quickly put initial price pressure behind them and focused on additional buyer support. This is pushing April futures prices $1 per cwt higher with moderate to firm gains seen in other nearby contracts. The likelihood is strong that current gains will hold through the end of the session due to the light trade and underlying firm fundamental support in the complex.
Firm losses have quickly developed through lean hog futures trade midday as the overall lack of trade activity has continued to pressure the overall market. Even though there is no new or developing news in market fundamentals, or technical, traders remain generally sluggish to step back into the complex Friday. Overall trade remains slow due to sluggish outside market moves.
Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price fell $1.74 at $64.61 per cwt with the range from $60.50 to $66.00 on 2,604 head reported sold.
Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report.
The National Pork Plant Report reported 111 loads selling with prices adding $0.16 per cwt. Lean hog index for 3/15 is at $71.84 down $0.15 with a projected two-day index of $71.74 down $0.10.
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The bulls were again winners in an exciting week for longs and producers. In last week’s report, I said the markets bias would be near unchanged to a bit lower.