Cattle futures have put in a rather choppy morning, with both sides of the market waiting for more cash evidence to surface. Lean contracts are narrowly mixed near the top of the noon hour as spot April prepares to expire.
Cattle feeding country is generally quiet at midday as buyers and sellers circling each other with steady/weak bids and higher asking prices (i.e., $120-plus in the South and $190-plus in the North). A few steers and heifers have sold in Kansas at $118. The National dressed hog base at midday is quoted 0.20 lower ($44.00-51.00), with a weighted average of $49.27.
Corn futures are 3-4 cents lower in late morning business, checked by profit taking and technically insignificant churning. Equities are lower near midday with the Dow off 74 points and the Nasdaq down by 20.
Spot April is moderately higher near midday (i.e., up 30), but well off early session highs. Traders seem a bit optimistic about greater packer spending, but not overly so. Summer and early fall contracts are moderately lower (i.e., off 12 to 47) thanks to bull spreading and ongoing worries about mounting beef tonnage.
Beef cut-outs are mixed at midday, up 0.36 (choice, $212.84) to off 0.49 (select, $200.18) with light to moderate box movement (44 loads of choice cuts, 9 loads of select cuts, 6 loads of trimmings, 11 loads of coarse grinds).
Feeder paper is narrowly mixed moving toward the week’s final hour of trading (i.e., off 5 to 55). Some profit taking is evident of the heels of yesterday’s bullish wave forward.
The action here is quite slow as spot April prepared to go off the board. Note that practical June is now more than $23 ahead of the April expiration. Much bullishness has already been dialed in relative to the seasonal rally. Yet traders now face the same old question: Is the June premium too big, or not big enough?
The carcass value at midday is moderately higher thanks to firmness in fresh cuts and processing items. Pork cut-out: $66.85, up 0.79. CME cash lean index for 04/11: 52.97, off 0.05 (DTN Projected lean index for 04/12: 53.23, up 0.26).