Cattle: Steady Futures: Mixed Live Equiv: $152.64 +0.02*
Hogs: Steady Futures: Mixed Lean Equiv: $ 91.86 -0.47**
* based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue
** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue
GENERAL COMMENTS: Cash cattle trade is expected to continue to develop Thursday with both sides apparently desiring to wrap up business before Good Friday. Light-to-moderate trade that developed in the South on Thursday, may have moved enough cattle for the week in Texas and Kansas.
These sales developed at $126 per cwt, which is $2 per cwt higher than last week. Trade in the North has yet to develop, but the firming tone is causing stronger asking prices of $128 to $130 live and $208 and higher dressed. The expectation is that cash cattle prices will be higher in all areas by the end of the week.
Futures trade is expected to be mixed with additional narrow trading shifts likely Thursday morning. The release of the March 1 Cattle on Feed report Thursday afternoon could add some additional pre-report positioning into the complex.
Although the report is not expected to deliver any huge surprises or revelations, the general tone of light-to-moderate supply growth and reduced marketing during the month of March is likely. Most of these expectations have already been factored into the complex, and may not bring about any significant price shifts Thursday.
All eyes will be on the 7:30 a.m. CT release of the weekly Export Sales report. Traders will focus on any new sales to China and also focus on overall shipments in the report.
Following last week’s large export levels, the expectation is that additional strong sales and shipments will be seen once again. But any sales are likely to be supportive to the market as traders continue to look at both short- and long-term movement to China.
Futures trade is expected to remain mixed once again, with the underlying firmness this week in deferred contracts conflicting with moderate-to-firm pressure in nearby and spot market trade. This could also create additional end of the week adjustments ahead of the long weekend.
Markets will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday. Cash trade is called steady to $1 higher Thursday morning with most bids steady. Expected slaughter Thursday is at 477,000 head. Saturday runs are expected at 89,000 head.