DTN Livestock Midday: Cattle Contracts Higher; Hog Complex Lower

Cattle contracts seem to be finding some midweek support, while lean hog contracts trade mostly lower.

General Comments

“Hello Wednesday” cattle contracts seem to say, with both live and feeder futures trading modestly higher. This is giving some support to the cash cattle market, but not really helping the lean hog futures.

March corn is down 4 3/4 cents per bushel and January soybean meal is down $2.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 53.97 points and NASDAQ is up 11.85 points.

LIVE CATTLE

Opening nearly steady with Tuesday’s close, live cattle futures have taken a turn for modestly higher prices and look to trade higher in the cash too. Wednesday morning at the Fed Cattle Exchange, the auction offered a total of 1,068 head (two lots in Kansas, one lot in Texas and four lots in Nebraska). Asking prices ranged from $119 to $119.50, and no sales were reported.

Asking prices float around the countryside at $121 to $121 in the South, and $192 plus in the North. It seems as though feeders know that if they are to get higher prices before the end of the year, the time is now before the market is overcome with Christmas. December live cattle are up $0.52 at $120.40, February live cattle are up $0.55 at $125.12 and April live cattle are up $0.70 at $125.75.

Box beef prices are down: choice down $1.77 ($219.72) and select down $1.16 ($204.19) with a movement of 101 loads (63.29 loads of choice, 17.54 loads of select, 0 loads of trim and 20.40 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE

Live cattle and feeder cattle markets are performing well Wednesday. Wednesday comes as the fourth consecutive day of steady gains in the feeder cattle complex, and it looks like Wednesday’s strength should carry into closing. January feeder cattle are up $0.95 at $142.60, March feeders are up $0.92 at $143.45 and April feeders are up $0.77 at $145.25.

If this week’s cash market can capture gains, the feeder cattle market may be able to steal some of that energy and post gains throughout the week. Given what countryside prices are though, it’s going to be tough to rally the market much because of the surplus of calves and being a mere two weeks away from Christmas.

LEAN HOGS

Wednesdays aren’t the lean hog’s time to shine. Showing a mildly depressed market, contracts are mostly lower. December lean hogs are up $0.15 at $60.62, February lean hogs are down $0.47 at $67.50 and April lean hogs are down $0.15 at $74.05. Cash prices may be down slightly, but packers have been relatively aggressive and given that cutout values are still holding, cash prices may hold steady or come back up (slightly).

The projected two-day lean hog index for 12/09/19 is up $0.35 at $58.47, and the actual index for 12/06/19 came in at $58.12, up $0.37. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.12 with a weighted average of $47.46, ranging from $42.00 to $48.97 on 10,153 hogs sold and five-day rolling average of $47.07.

Pork cuts total 182.08 loads with 137.73 loads of pork cuts and 44.35 loads of trim. Pork cutout values are up $0.51 at $83.63.

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