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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          03/24 11:58

   Hog Futures Quickly Move Lower Friday Morning      

   Aggressive triple-digit losses have flooded through lean hog futures trade 
Friday morning. This has quickly offset any sense of support seen in the 
complex after the strong gains that developed Thursday. Cattle markets are 
mixed in sluggish late-week trade. 

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst

GENERAL COMMENTS: 

   Sharp losses have developed in lean hog futures trade as traders are quickly 
backing away from any sign of support seen Thursday. Cattle markets are lightly 
traded in mixed direction with very little activity seen through the morning. 
Corn prices are lower in light trade. May corn futures are 1 cent lower. Stock 
markets are higher in light trade. The Dow Jones is 14 points higher while 
Nasdaq is up 33 points.

   LIVE CATTLE:

   Live cattle futures remain focused on narrow trading ranges as most 
commercial and investment traders have remained on the sidelines through the 
end of the week. Some additional market shifts are expected in the last hour of 
trade as traders prepare for the upcoming cattle on feed report. But the 
overall direction of the market is not expected to be significantly changed 
over the near future, but the direction of cash trade could bring additional 
momentum to the market. Cash cattle markets have not traded yet Friday morning, 
although bids have continued to develop in the South at $126 per cwt and $210 
in the North. There are questions concerning just how much cash cattle trade 
needs to, or will be done this week, as packers are increasingly sluggish when 
it comes to chasing prices higher this week. Asking prices remain at $132 and 
higher in the South and $217 to $218 in the North. Trade that does develop may 
be seen around or after the release of the cattle on feed report Friday. Beef 
cut-outs at midday are lower, $0.21 lower (select) and down $0.19 per cwt 
(choice) with light movement of 68 total loads reported (36 loads of choice 
cuts, 13 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 20 loads of ground beef). 

   FEEDER CATTLE: 

   Narrow trade ranges are holding in across the entire cattle complex, with 
feeder cattle markets mixed following sluggish morning activity. Contracts are 
hoovering from 35 cents lower to 25 cents per cwt higher at midday as traders 
continue to look for additional direction from both live cattle trade and the 
upcoming cattle on feed report. Very little activity is likely through the end 
of the session, but the light volume adds price shifts based on just a few 
traders still in the market.    

   LEAN HOGS:

   Sharp triple-digit losses are seen in most lean hog contracts as traders 
continue to adjust to the wild price shifts seen over the past week. Strong 
gains seen Thursday have been eliminated with additional downside market 
pressure seen across the complex. April futures are holding a $1.95 per cwt 
loss, falling to $67.40 per cwt while May and June contracts are trading near 
$2.50 per cwt lower. The one-day spike in price levels seen Thursday brought 
more volatility into the market than anything else, with the overall tone of 
the market still weak. Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning 
cash hog report. The weighted average price fell $0.56 at $64.47 per cwt with 
the range from $60.00 to $66.00 on 2,264 head reported sold. Cash prices are 
unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa Minnesota Direct morning cash hog 
report. The National Pork Plant Report reported 122 loads selling with prices 
gaining $1.57 per cwt. Lean hog index for 3/22 is at $71.29 down $0.12 with a 
projected two-day index of $70.91 down $0.38. 

   Rick Kment can be reached at rick.kment@dtn.com 


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