DTN Livestock Midday: Contracts Mixed Following Thanksgiving

A Criollo steer on the USDA-ARS, Jornada Experimental Range in southern New Mexico. Photo: Texas AgriLife Extension

Livestock contracts continue to trade in a lackadaisical fashion on Friday as a lot of traders are soaking up a long weekend.

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Heading into the afternoon, the livestock contracts are trading in a slow, methodical post-Thanksgiving fashion. With the markets closing early Friday afternoon and a lot of traders already checked out for the week for a long weekend, Friday’s trade throughout the futures market and in the cash cattle market has developed in an unhurried cadence. March corn is up 5 cents per bushel, and January soybean meal is down $0.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 26.25 points, and the NASDAQ is up 93.46 points.

LIVE CATTLE:

The live cattle market couldn’t pick up where it left off Thursday and rally into Friday’s trade. December live cattle are down $0.60 at $110.77, February live cattle are down $0.82 at $113.32 and April live cattle are down $0.45 at $117.02. Friday’s unsupported trade really stems from the shortened holiday week. The cash cattle market is still mostly quiet with a few bids being renewed in Nebraska at $111 and a few cattle sold Friday morning in Texas for $112. Some feedlots in eastern Nebraska have upped asking prices to $175 as they know that packers need cattle and are in position to wait until the market pays up.

Beef net sales of 15,500 metric tons (mt) were reported for 2020 — a marketing-year low — up noticeably from the previous week and from the prior four-week average. Increases were primarily for China (2,000 mt, including decreases of 100 mt), Japan (1,800 mt, including decreases of 2,700 mt) and Kuwait (100 mt).

Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice down $1.21 ($243.85) and select up $0.04 ($220.94) with a movement of 27 loads (11.58 loads of choice, 2.97 loads of select, 4.80 loads of trim and 7.16 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE:

While live cattle contracts are trading lower, the feeder cattle market is hoping to round out the week with the bullish attitude that’s been supported since Monday. January feeders are up $0.15 at $140.32, March feeders are up $0.02 at $139.30 and April feeders are up $0.07 at $140.47. The corn market is seeing some support that has elevated nearby contracts to $0.03 to $0.04 higher; thus far, the corn market’s gain hasn’t derailed the feeder cattle contracts.

LEAN HOGS:

The lean hog market isn’t being supported following the big Thanksgiving holiday. December lean hogs are down $0.15 at $66.02, February lean hogs are down $0.72 at $66.95 and April lean hogs are down $0.75 at $70. Following Thursday’s stronger close, the market was hopeful to keep scaling higher and to eventually push out of the market’s recent sideways trade. But based on Friday’s trade thus far, the hog market isn’t looking prime to finding midafternoon support before closing.

Pork net sales of 18,800 mt reported for 2020 were down 35% from the previous week and 47% from the prior four-week average. The three primary increases were for Mexico (9,400 mt, including decreases of 600 mt), Japan (3,900 mt, including decreases of 200 mt) and China (2,500 mt, including decreases of 600 mt).

The projected lean hog index for 11/24/2020 is down $0.32 at $67.38, and the actual index for 11/23/2020 is down $0.13 at $67.70. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.41 with a weighted average of $57.48, ranging from $57 to $58.50 on 3,840 head and a five-day rolling average of $57.94. Pork cutouts total 129.64 loads with 116.86 loads of pork cuts and 12.78 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.45, $78.80.

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