DTN Livestock Open: Additional Price Swings May Follow Limited Volume

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Overall activity across livestock futures Friday is expected to remain limited as many traders are likely to remain absent until early next week. This sluggish market interest typically sparks unpredictable and sometimes wide market swings.

Cattle: Higher Futures: Mixed Live Equiv $149.97 -0.32*
Hogs: Steady Futures: Mixed Lean Equiv $84.90 -2.28**
* based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue
** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue


Even though overall market activity is expected to remain limited Friday following the Thanksgiving holiday break, there are a lot of pieces still out of place that will need to be sorted out in a short time Friday.

Cash cattle trade started to develop Wednesday with both sides hoping to get things squared away before leaving for Thanksgiving activities, but the winter storm through much of the Midwest and aggressive follow through support in futures trade limited the ability for cash market resolution in some areas.

Although some spotted trade developed at $118 per cwt live basis and $187 per cwt live, as much as $3 to $4 per cwt higher, additional trade is expected to still develop. The main question through the morning is if packers will be willing to step back into the market, extending these offers, or at this point wait until next week to secure additional cattle needs.

The aggressive triple-digit rally in futures trade also leaves some questions as to how much follow-through support will develop at the end of the month. With February contracts setting new contract highs Wednesday, the expectation that additional underlying support is developing through the complex.

But given the holiday-shortened trading schedule Friday and expected trader participation to be sparse, prices could struggle to find additional support. Friday slaughter runs are expected at 116,000 head.

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