DTN Livestock Open: Slaughter Pace Impacts Prices

    Live cattle struggled with most contracts closing lower. February was higher due to steady cash trade surfacing Tuesday. Feeder cattle took it on the chin again due to bearish fundamentals. Hogs have no limits as futures continue to reach new highs.

    Cattle: Steady. Futures: Mixed. Live Equiv: $218.54 -$0.86*
    Hogs: Higher. Futures: Higher. Lean Equiv: $99.60 -$3.20**
    *Based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue. (The Live Cattle Equiv. Index has been updated to depict recent changes in live cattle weights and grading percentages.)
    ** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue.

    GENERAL COMMENTS:

    As much as many hope cattle futures will find a bottom, it remains elusive. Prices did not suffer the losses that that feeder cattle did, but they failed to attract strong buyer interest. Boxed beef prices declined with choice down $1.12 and select down $1.47. As expected, feedlots wanted to sell cattle and when packers floated steady bids, they took them.

    Limited trade took place in the South at $137 and in the North at $218. Cash activity was not widespread, but it could have been. Steady cash may be as good as it gets now that packers see that steady prices may get the job done and then some as packers continue to purchase for immediate slaughter and future delivery.

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