Following strong pressure through the last couple of days, traders are searching for market stability Friday morning as they prepare for a three-day weekend. The ability to regain limited to moderate market support through the session would go a long way in rekindling buyer interest early next week.
Cattle: Steady to Lower Futures: Mixed Live Equiv $142.97 +0.59*
Hogs: Steady Futures: Mixed Lean Equiv $ 80.40 +0.80**
* based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue
** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue
Light-to-moderate cash cattle trade developed during the day Thursday as both sides appear to be trying to wrap up as much business ahead of the widespread winter storm system moving through cattle country Friday. This is likely to impact overall movement of cattle through the end of the week as well as the ability to sell additional cattle before the long weekend.
Cattle sold generally steady to $1 per cwt lower Thursday and will likely set the tone for any remaining cattle on showlists that need to be sold before the end of the week. Prices in the South were seen at $123 to $124 per cwt, mostly $124, and steady with last week. Northern dressed cattle held a full range of $197 to $200, with most selling at $199 per cwt. This is $1 per cwt lower than last week and will likely limit the upside potential for any additional selling before the end of the week.
Futures trade is expected mixed but generally weak early Friday morning. Although active pressure has developed during the trading week, prices are still above initial support levels, leaving markets hovering in a generally sideways trading range for now. An effort to cover short positions ahead of the weekend is likely to bring about limited market gains Friday.
Futures markets will remain closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr., creating some underlying uncertainty with a three-day weekend many times leaving the market generally unsettled. Friday slaughter runs are expected near 119,000 head.