DTN Livestock Midday: Light Gains Curbed By Market Uncertainty

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Mixed trade has held through the entire morning in hog and cattle trade with traders still focusing on market firmness based on last week’s gains. But the inability to sustain significant buyer interest early morning has kept price shifts well contained.

General Comments

Mixed trade is seen through the entire livestock complex with continued gains redeveloping in nearby lean hog trade with April futures holding a triple-digit rally at midday. Cattle markets remain focused on the overall uncertainty of follow-through buyer support, with traders containing prices within current market ranges through most of the morning.

Corn futures are lower in sluggish trade. May corn futures are 2 cents lower. Stock markets are lower in light trade. Dow Jones is 25 points lower with Nasdaq down 2 points.


Moderately mixed trade ranges have held through live cattle trade Monday morning with traders holding prices from 47 cents lower to 50 cents higher. Most of the activity has developed in nearby contracts as April and June futures are showing the greatest adjustment. With so much unknown about the impact of flooding and how this will impact cattle in feed yards as well as the cow/calf operations in many of these areas, traders continue to hover within the current market range which is likely to hold over the next several days.

Cash cattle interest remains undeveloped with packers and feeders starting the weekly dance of show list distribution and inventory taking. Transportation issues are likely to be a major issue even if cash business gets done due to many flooded and damaged roads through the upper midwest.

Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.70 higher (select) and up $1.25 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 37 total loads reported (17 loads of choice cuts, 6 loads of select cuts, 5 loads of trimmings, 9 loads of ground beef).


Limited interest is seen in feeder cattle trade with prices hovering from 40 cents lower to 45 cents higher in choppy up and down trade through the morning. The limited support in live cattle trade early Monday has helped to rekindle some buying activity, but the momentum of strong triple digit gains seen late last week seems to have quickly passed.

Traders continue to try to balance short- and long-term market direction given the weather conditions and flooding conditions, impacting the upper half of cattle country. This could create more questions than answers over the near future, allowing for increased market volatility.


Firm buyer support is slowly but steadily moving through the complex Monday, although most contracts have pulled back from initial triple digit gains which developed early Monday morning. Commercial buyer support has moved back into April lean hog trade, moving prices $1.50 per cwt, with prices shifting above $70 per cwt for the first time since mid-December. This may allow for additional late-day buying activity through most contracts.

At this point, there appears limited aggressive buying on the sidelines which would move gains to expanded trading limits in the last hour of trade activity. This could help to bring steady but more stable buyer activity into the complex through the end of the week.

Cash prices are higher on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price added $1.09 at $55.01 per cwt with the range from $48.00 to $58.00 on 6,220 head reported sold.

Cash prices are higher on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price added $1.39 at $56.87 per cwt with the range from $50.00 to $58.00 on 2,360 head reported sold.

Pork carcass values continue to gain momentum with strong triple-digit gains developing in most primal cuts. Pork cutouts gained $1.10 per cwt at $69.99 per cwt with 135 loads traded. Lean hog index for 3/14 is $55.40, up $1.27, with a projected two-day index is $56.54, up $1.14.

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