Traders are slow to step into the market through the morning Tuesday with prices stuck in a narrow trading range in both cattle and hog markets. The lack of overall direction in livestock fundamentals as well as outside markets is limiting overall interest Thursday.
Livestock futures remain extremely quiet Thursday morning with prices mixed in a narrow range. The overall lack of direction in all markets comes as traders have slowly eroded initial market support as the morning has continued. The overall lack of direction in cash cattle trade following moderate to active cash trade Wednesday seems to leave most traders willing to hold prices in a stable formation.
Corn prices are higher in light trade. March corn futures are 2 cents higher. Stock markets are lower in light trade. The Dow Jones is 96 points lower while Nasdaq is down 2 points.
Narrow gains are holding across live cattle futures. There is limited direction seen in the market and the inability for additional buyer activity moving back into the market could further stagnate buyer support through the end of the week.
Given the early movement in cash cattle markets at steady to lower prices, futures traders seem to be content with holding prices in a narrow range and potentially wait until next week when more volume and direction is available. This should keep prices in the narrow range for 5 to 12 cents higher through the rest of the session.
Cash cattle markets are quiet following moderate to active trade seen Wednesday. There could be some additional clean up activity seen, but it appears that neither side is overly active in getting additional business done over the near future. Bids are seen at $117 live and $187 to $188 dressed. But this may not give any incentive for additional cattle to be sold at this point. Asking prices remain at $193 to $195 in the North and $120 in the South.
Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.61 higher (select) and up $0.22 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 71 total loads reported (40 loads of choice cuts, 20 loads of select cuts, 2 loads of trimmings, 10 loads of ground beef).
Narrow gains are holding in nearby feeder cattle contracts as traders attempt to back away from strong triple-digit losses developing in the complex midweek. The overall lack of direction in live cattle markets is limiting any buyer activity through the feeder cattle markets, although traders seem to suggest that the recent pressure in the market may be enough to account for expectations of higher placements during December given the expected demand support for beef over the next few months. Nearby contracts are holding gains of 5 to 30 cents at midday with lackluster activity seen in the complex.
Early support through lean hog futures has faded through the morning with narrowly mixed trade seen at midday. The overall lack of direction in the lean hog complex continues to bring the focus back to the firm cash market support seen during the last couple of days, but wide price shifts in futures trade. The potential to bring some stability in nearby and deferred futures contracts could help to spark additional buyer activity through the end of the week and into next week.
Cash prices are lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price fell $0.64 at $53.20 per cwt with the range from $51.00 to $54.50 on 5,538 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 155 loads selling with prices gaining $0.84 per cwt. Lean hog index for 1/3 is at $57.58 up $0.11 with a projected two-day index of $57.61 up $0.03.