DTN Livestock Midday: Hog Futures Rally Higher

Photo: United Soybean Board

Livestock futures have bounced higher due to very limited market direction Wednesday. Lean hog futures are leading the market higher with triple-digit gains seen in nearby contracts.

General Comments

Livestock futures have shifted higher in limited trade with firm gains. Lean hog futures have posted strong triple-digit gains with active support seen through the complex. Live cattle futures have bounced higher, but limited volume is keeping trade sluggish. Feeder cattle futures are leading the cattle markets higher. Corn markets are higher in light trade. March corn futures are 1 cent higher. Stock markets are closed for the day.

LIVE CATTLE:

Live cattle futures have broken away from the initial single digit gains seen Wednesday morning, but limited support has continued to be seen through the entire complex. December futures are holding a 40 cent per cwt rally, as traders have moved prices above the $118 per cwt. This has helped to bring additional interest back into all contract months even though volume across the entire complex remains sluggish. Traders seem to have pushed the pause button on recent market uncertainty focusing on trade, but uncertainty will likely develop later this week.

Cash cattle bids have slowly but steadily moved into the complex Wednesday morning with live bids seen at $112 to $114 per cwt with most bids seen at $113 per cwt. Dressed bids are still undeveloped, but earlier week bids of $183 per cwt are likely to be a safe bet at this point. This is still a world apart from current asking prices of $120 to $122 per cwt live and $190 dressed. Active trade is not expected to be seen until sometime Thursday or Friday, with activity on Friday the safest bet.

Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are lower, $0.43 lower (select) and down $0.12 per cwt (choice) with active movement of 104 total loads reported (55 loads of choice cuts, 14 loads of select cuts, 12 loads of trimmings, 24 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Initial light trade seen through the feeder cattle complex has sparked additional longer term activity through the entire market complex. March futures are holding a $1 per cwt gain, which has sparked underlying support to develop in all nearby contracts.

Overall market volume has remained light, and is expected to limit overall buyer activity through most of the session, but traders are focused on regaining support following sharp losses early in the week that have broken through support levels. Traders continue to focus on the ability for live cattle market fundamentals to strengthen while corn markets seem to have limited the recent market rally.

LEAN HOGS:

Strong gains have continued to develop in most lean hog futures trade as the focus on renewed buyer support is trickling into the market while most other markets remain extremely quiet Wednesday. Many traders seem to focus on hovering on the sidelines due to the National Day of Mourning, but the few buyers that have entered the market have found activity unrestricted. This is pushing triple-digit gains in most nearby contracts. December futures are quiet, and holding limited losses, while February through July futures have posted $1 per cwt gains.

Cash prices are higher on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is $0.78 higher at $49.43 per cwt with the range from $44.00 to $49.87 on 3,790 head reported sold.

Cash prices are lower on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is $3.19 lower at $45.24 per cwt with the range from $44.00 to $47.00 on 115 head reported sold.

Pork carcass values gained 1.62 per cwt at $72.50 per cwt on 218 loads. Lean hog index for 12/03 is $56.38, up 0.02, with a projected two-day index is $56.40, up 0.02.

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