DTN Livestock Open: Traders Focus on Reports

The combination of the afternoon release of the Cattle on Feed report and delayed weekly export sales reports Friday morning will likely gain the attention of many traders, allowing for moderate end-of-week positioning through the complex.

Cattle: Steady with Thursday Futures: Mixed Live Equiv $137.21 -0.45*
Hogs: Higher Futures: Mixed Lean Equiv $69.36 +0.43**
* based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue
** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue


The lion’s share of cash cattle trade is expected to have wrapped up Thursday following light to moderate trade seen over the past two days. The majority of Southern trade took place on Wednesday, with a little clean-up activity developing Thursday.

On the other hand, trade across the North developed during the day Thursday. Generally prices are steady to $1 per cwt higher from last week’s levels, but consistent with previous days’ moves in areas where trade took place both Wednesday and Thursday. Limited clean-up activity may develop through the day Friday, but prices appear to be generally set at $120 live basis and $190 dressed.

Cash and futures trade will be be closely focused on the afternoon cattle on feed report. At this point limited excitement is expected in the afternoon report with pre-report estimates expected slightly higher than year-ago levels, but not enough to gain significant attention with placements pegged at 101.5% year ago levels, Marketing at 101% and total cattle on feed expected at 102.3% levels.

If report numbers come close to these estimates, significant market movement is not likely as traders have already factored much of this adjustment into the market.

Futures trade is mixed early Friday morning as the delayed weekly export sales report will give a good indication of additional beef movement through the middle of February. Although no significant surprises are expected at this time, it is likely that the typical regular trading partners such as Japan, Canada and Mexico will once again make up a large percentage of beef exports.

The strong pullback in futures trade Thursday will also bring about mixed movement with some additional end-of-week uncertainty combined with light to moderate end-of-week short covering through most cattle trade. Friday slaughter is expected near 120,000 head.

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