DTN Livestock Midday: Cash Cattle Markets Hustling

Live cattle contracts are trading modestly higher while the lean hog and feeder cattle market checks out early for the week.

General Comments

Well it would appear that our Thursday projections were correct – even with wishy-washy news lines about the U.S./China trade agreement, lean hogs have subsided to trading merely steady to a touch lower, and feeder cattle markets have done much of the same giving the live cattle contracts the limelight for the day while cash cattle markets roll up their sleeves and push for higher prices again this week. December corn is up 6 1/2 cents per bushel and December soybean meal is down $1.30. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 40.81 points and NASDAQ is up 21.36 points.

LIVE CATTLE

“How tough are ya?,” the question of the day. For weeks now live cattle contracts have traded higher and cash cattle markets have been able to secure $1.00 to $2.00 gains pretty much every week. It seems as if feeders are starting to put two and two together and wondering why they have been modest in their asking prices and only dared to take $2.00 each week, when slaughter has been relatively aggressive, and packers continue to profit from stout boxed beef prices.

Given that some asking prices in the South are placed at $116 to $117, if fats end up selling in that ball park, or close to it, it would be fair to say feeders played tough, and feeders played smart this week. Given that we know that there is a correction bound to happen any time between now and the first of the year, lavish gains in the cash cattle market may be hard to secure during the correction.

Not to mention that packers have some cattle committed for delivery for the weeks of 11/18/19 and 11/25/19 making cash cattle advancements tougher in those periods especially given that they also dance around the Thanksgiving holiday.

December live cattle are trading $0.52 higher at $119.52, February live cattle are trading $0.42 higher at $125.27 and April live cattle are up $0.30 at $126.17. A light to moderate live trade has developed in the South at $114 to $115, $2.00 to $3.00 higher than last week’s weighted averages. Northern live cattle are at trading $114 to $116, steady to $2 higher than last week’s weighted average basis Nebraska. Some asking prices remain firm around $116 to $117 in the South, and $184 to $185 in the North.

Midday boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.96 ($239.25) and select up $0.49 ($213.51) with a light movement of 69 loads (41.28 loads of choice, 17.01 loads of select, zero loads of trim and 10.59 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE

Letting cash cattle and live cattle contracts take the show Friday, feeder cattle markets are trading mostly mixed though they are appearing to warm up as the noon hour approaches. November feeders are up $0.15 at $146.92, January feeders are up $0.05 at $145.82 and March feeders are down $0.07 at $145.42.

LEAN HOGS

Disgusted there’s no clear path to a signed trade agreement and that the U.S. has more hogs than normal, the lean hog sector is trading moderately lower and looks at the door ready and eager for the weekend. December lean hogs are trading $0.30 lower at $64.00, February lean hogs are down $0.45 at $73.32 and April lean hogs are down $0.32 at $79.82.

The projected lean hog index for 11/07/19 is up $0.10 at $60.29, and the actual lean hog index for 11/06/19 is $60.19, up $0.03. Hog prices on the National Direct Morning Hog Report are unchanged with a weighted average of $45.24, ranging from $41.00 to $46.00 on 4,920 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $46.24.

Pork cutouts totaled 127.43 loads with 106.07 loads of pork cuts and 21.36 loads of trim. Pork cutouts values are up $2.10 at $82.74.

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