DTN Livestock Midday: Light Trade Keeps Futures Weak

Light to moderate pressure redeveloped in cattle trade through most of the morning. This lack of buyer support and inability to cover short positions may add longer-term weakness to the complex. Hog markets have turned slightly lower as traders try to square positions following the aggressive market rally over the last few days.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Light to moderate pressure is seen in most livestock trade as cattle futures continue to erode due to concerns of additional pressure developing in the near future. Hog trade is focusing on end-of-week position squaring, as limited losses are seen Friday morning.

Corn prices are steady to lower in light trade. March corn futures are 1/2 cent lower Friday. Stock markets are higher in light trade. The Dow Jones is 137 points higher while Nasdaq is up 59 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Moderate to firm losses have quickly developed through the live cattle futures market. Traders are also focusing on the inability to bring additional volume to the market at the end of the week. Some late-day market shifts may continue to develop as traders focus on the upcoming cattle on feed report. This may add even more uncertainty to the complex and spark some early-week market shifts Monday morning.

Cash cattle bids have developed at $128 live through the South and $202 dressed in the North through the morning. Although there may still be a few cattle needing to be sold, it appears that for the most part both sides seem comfortable with previous market activity. This could allow for markets to remain at current levels with activity next week focusing on end-of-month needs also.

Boxed beef cut-outs at midday are mixed, $0.83 higher (select) and down $0.32 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 39 total loads reported (15 loads of choice cuts, 7 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 17 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Feeder cattle futures have traded moderately lower through most of the morning, although prices have tried to break out of the lower market moves. This could add even more softness to the complex over the near future, as traders continue to focus on increased activity through the next couple of days. March futures are unchanged in light midday trade as the potential for late-day support may move back into the market.

LEAN HOGS:

Light pressure is slowly trickling into the lean hog complex Friday morning following a strong market rally over the last two sessions. This overall support seen in the market has quickly pulled prices well off of recent lows, but traders are now starting to focus on end-of-week positioning, which could lead to increased volatility. The strength in the market continues to hold, but could draw additional buyer activity back to the market over the next week.

Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.73 at $62.83 per cwt with the range from $57.00 to $63.75 on 3,252 head reported sold.

Cash prices are lower on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.52 at $63.19 per cwt with the range from $62.00 to $63.75 on 492 head reported sold.

The National Pork Plant Report posted 135 loads selling with carcass values adding $0.77 per cwt. Lean hog index for 2/21 is at $70.17, down 0.61 with a projected two-day index of $69.78, down 0.39.

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