DTN Livestock Close: Lean Hogs Pressured by Disappointing Fundamentals

Spring and summer lean hog futures suffered significant losses at mid-week with triple-digit selling resulting in lows dating back to last fall. On the other hand, the cattle complex closed mostly higher, supported by cash optimism and technical buying.


Midday: The cattle complex reversed from early strength near late morning and then seemed to rediscover buying interest. At the same time, lean hog futures at midday thanks to long liquidation and technical selling.


The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction report today listed a total of 4,446 head, with 701 head actually sold, and 3,745 head listed as unsold. The weighted average was $128.62, up $2.62 from last week’s weighted average of $126.00 (keep in mind that only one lot sold in NE last week at $126.00). According to the midday report, the national hog base is 0.68 lower compared with the Prior Day settlement ($51.00-56.50, weighted average $54.57).

Corn futures were higher early in the business day but now seem no livelier than fractionally mixed. The stock market is mixed near the top of the new hour with the Dow off 69 and the Nasdaq positive by 27.


Live futures through midday had offered a little action for everyone (i.e., up, down, and around). Currently, prices are mostly higher with most of the bullish shine tied to spot April (i.e., up 100 points plus).

Beef cut-outs are mixed at midday, up 0.31 (select, $202.51) to off 0.91 (choice, $215.08) with light box movement (36 loads of choice cuts, 17 loads of select cuts, 5 loads of trimmings, 9 loads of coarse grinds).


Feeder contracts are giving some back today following an impressive early spring rally. Most issues opened in the green, but all have reversed as of this writing with most months 100-200 points below session. But even if the board remains under pressured, a negative close is not likely to be technically significant.


Triple-digit losses are soaking the front end of lean futures near midday with practical spot June struggling to stay above 70. Such defensive action suggests that bullish patience is running thin relative to the surfacing of more constructive fundamentals. The carcass value at midday is moderately lower, checked both softer sales of bellies, hams, and loins.

Pork cut-out: $75.12, off 0.36. CME cash lean index for 04/17: 62.12, off 0.47 (DTN Projected lean index for 04/18: 61.89, off 0.23).

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