DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Futures Firm

Photo: Blair Fannin, Texas AgriLife Extension

Light buyer support is returning to the livestock complex despite strong losses seen in other ag commodities. Live cattle futures are leading the livestock complex higher Thursday morning.

General Comments

Firm gains are seen through the live cattle and feeder cattle trade as buyers are starting to regroup and move back into the market following sluggish market moves over the past couple of days. Lean hog futures are mixed in narrow to moderate range with April futures holding a 50 cent gains, while deferred futures held moderate pressure.

Corn markets are lower in light trade. March corn futures are 5 cents lower. Stock markets are higher in light trade. Dow Jones is 44 points higher with Nasdaq up 4 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Live cattle futures have bounced higher Thursday morning with buyers steadily moving back into the complex with 30 to 50 cent gains holding at midday. The ability to move February futures above $125.35 per cwt price levels set early in the week is a strong possibility with markets trading at $125.10 per cwt. A move to these new contract highs in February futures is likely to spark additional follow through buying through the end of the week.

Cash cattle markets are sluggish through the morning with a few bids seen in several areas Thursday morning. Live bids are seen at $119 in Texas, while dressed bids in Nebraska are developing at $192 per cwt. Asking prices are being restated at $125 to $126 live and $200 dressed. Trade is not expected to be seen until sometime Friday, although a wide shift in futures trade could expedite activity.

Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.58 higher (select) and up $0.61 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 58 total loads reported (31 loads of choice cuts, 11 loads of select cuts, 3 loads of trimmings, 13 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Feeder cattle futures are mixed in a narrow trading range with prices hovering from 2 cents lower to 25 cents per cwt higher. The focus on renewed buyer support in live cattle trade through the morning is helping to bring a sense of stability through feeder cattle trade.

January futures continue to hold a premium of nearly $2 per cwt over March futures as the short-term outlook remains firm. Limited activity is expected to be seen through the entire complex over the rest of the session.

LEAN HOGS:

Mixed trade has developed through lean hog trade with April contracts able to etch out additional buyer support as spillover interest has been seen following the sharp gains seen Wednesday.

Other nearby contracts have eroded through the morning, in part to position taking following sharp midweek gains, as well as concern that sharp grain market losses will further pressure hog markets over the next couple of weeks.

Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $0.27 at $50.89 per cwt with the range from $47.00 to $51.12 on 4,986 head reported sold.

Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report.

Pork carcass values are higher on the morning report with prices surging $2.08 per cwt at $71.75 per cwt with 172 loads traded. Lean hog index for 1/08 is $55.10, up 0.25, with a projected two-day index is $55.99, up 0.89.

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