DTN Livestock Midday: Hog Markets Expand Gains

Photo: Soybean Checkoff

Sharp triple-digit gains have flooded into hog trade. This has expanded contract highs in all nearby markets, allowing for further potential gains through the end of the session.

General Comments

Hog trade continues to be the story of the day with prices surging to expanded trading limits through morning activity. This momentum in buyer activity is expanding contract highs based on expected further demand. Cattle markets are lightly traded with narrow gains holding live cattle futures steady to firm Thursday morning.

Corn futures are higher in sluggish trade. May corn futures are 5 cents higher. Stock markets are higher in light trade. Dow Jones is 145 points higher with Nasdaq up 73 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

Limited activity has kept live cattle markets stable through the morning with prices 10 to 30 cents per cwt higher at midday. Despite sharp triple digit gains in lean hog trade and strong buyer support continuing across the feeder cattle complex, live cattle traders remain reluctant to aggressively step back into the market.

With April futures nearing long term resistance levels of the illusive $130 per cwt, traders continue to get cold feet when prices move near this level. It is likely that additional bullish market news will need to develop in order to spark active interest through nearby live cattle futures in the near future.

Cash cattle trade still remains a long way off, with active trade likely to be pushed off until Friday. Given the release of the March 1 cattle on feed report Friday afternoon, trade may be delayed until after the report release.

A few token bids have finally developed in Nebraska at $204 per cwt dressed basis. This is $6 per below asking prices, and unlikely to get any attention at this point in the week. Asking prices remain at $130 to $132 per cwt live and $210 dressed.

Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.54 higher (select) and up $0.18 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 53 total loads reported (34 loads of choice cuts, 9 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 11 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

Moderate to firm support is developing in feeder cattle trade Thursday with traders focusing on a combination of tighter supplies through the rest of the year as well as overall beef demand expected to improve through the summer months. May through October contracts are the most aggressively focused on feeder cattle contracts, posting $1 per cwt gains through the morning.

Although no concrete numbers of cattle impacted from winter storms over the last two months, or recent flooding is available, the expectation that losses will affect overall supplies is creating market reactions.

LEAN HOGS:

Continued market support has flooded through lean hog trade with all nearby contracts taking advantage of expanded trading limits through the Thursday session. April futures are holding a $3.12 per cwt rally, moving near $77 per cwt. This continues to set new contract highs for all nearby contracts.

The underlying support in the complex continues to spark some additional underlying support through the entire complex with June through August setting sights on $100-per-cwt price levels. The speed at which prices have moved higher is starting to create concern, leaving the complex ripe for an aggressive market correction.

Cash prices are higher on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price added $0.64 at $61.90 per cwt with the range from $55.00 to $65.00, on 3,821 head reported sold.

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

Pork values have regained market momentum with triple digit gains pushing carcass prices sharply higher. Pork cutouts gained $2.33 per cwt at $76.38 per cwt with 122 loads traded. Lean hog index for 3/19 is $59.22, up $1.68, with a projected two-day index is $60.75, up $1.53.

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