DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Contracts On Rise, Lean Hogs Slip Lower

©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

Cattle contracts shake the early part of the week’s blue, and depressed attitude, while lean hog contracts take the back burner.

General Comments

Thursday’s market is shaking things up and kicking the early part of the week’s trend to the curb by supporting cattle market and unfortunately neglecting to encourage the lean hog market.

March corn is up 1/4 cent per bushel and January soybean meal is up $6.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 45.25 points and NASDAQ is down 7.85 points.

LIVE CATTLE

Just in the brink of time, for cash cattle trade to start to think about trading, cattle contracts trade higher. December live cattle are up $0.92 at $120.40, February live cattle are up $1.05 at $125.20 and April live cattle are up $0.62 at $125.62. Bids are starting to float throughout cattle country without a lot of certainty to where prices will land.

The facts remain that packers need cattle, and now time and how the board performs over the next two days will largely influence if prices are steady or $1.00 to $2.00 higher. Bids in Nebraska are at $118 for live cattle, and $186 for dressed, and bids in Kansas and Texas are placed at $119.

Feeders knowing that packers are willing already to pay steady money will most likely give cattlemen the urge to hold out for a little higher and trade mostly Friday.

Morning boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $1.11 ($225.84) and select down $1.32 ($208.99) with a movement of 73 loads (41.67 loads of choice, 8.74 loads of select, 4.89 loads of trim and 17.54 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE

Feeder cattle markets are reciprocating some of the energy from live cattle contract, trading modestly higher into the noon hour. January feeders are up $0.42 at $141.30, March feeders are up $0.42 at $141.85 and April feeder are up $0.45 at $143.85.

It wouldn’t be unlikely to see feeder cattle markets struggle until the calendar year flips to 2020, or even until the heart of winter is over as feedlots and cattlemen alike are already anxious about a winter like last.

LEAN HOGS

The board may have taken a turn South Thursday morning, but cash prices are still rising and pork cutout values are up. December lean hogs are down $0.20 at $61.65, February lean hogs are down $0.27 at $68.15 and April lean hogs are down $0.62 at $74.12.

Stepping back as most of the market’s attention lies on the cattle complex and how cash cattle will trade, it’s not horrible after two days of gaining momentum if the market trades merely steady.

The projected lean hog index 12/04/19 is up $0.14 at $58.34, and the actual lean hog index for 12/03/19 came back $0.82 higher at $58.20. Hog prices are higher again on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.75 with a weighted average of $46.43, ranging from $41.00 to $47.50 on 7,140 head sold with a five-day rolling average of $44.57.

Pork cutouts totaled 149.89 loads with 129.55 loads of pork cuts and 20.34 loads of trim. Pork cutout values are up $2.32 at $83.32.

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