The cattle complex closed sharply lower, hammered by a combination of long liquidation, technical-selling and sharply higher corn prices. On the other hand, lean hog futures settled narrowly mixed as traders positioned ahead of the quarterly hog inventory.
Light-to-moderate cattle trading developed in several areas before the holiday break. Live sales in parts of Texas were mostly $121, as much as $5 lower than last week. Dressed sales in the North were mostly $193-$194, $6 to $7 lower than last week. The national hog base closed off $0.36 compared with the prior day settlement ($45-$51, weighted average $48.45). From Friday to Thursday, livestock futures scored the following changes: Apr LC off $2.30; Jun LC off $3.63; Mar FC off $0.10; May FC off $3.28; Apr LH off $1.17; May LH up $2.60.
Corn futures closed $0.14 higher, supported by smaller-than-expected planting intentions (88 million acres, 1.3 million below the average guess). The stock market closed higher with the Dow up 254 and the Nasdaq better by 114.