DTN Livestock Midday: Quiet Trade Keeps Prices Steady

    Limited activity is seen in all livestock futures with narrow market shifts developing in all cattle trade and nearby hog futures. Outside market support is helping to limit additional pressure Thursday morning.

    General Comments

    Cattle futures are mostly higher, but showing limited support as narrow gains have been limited by losses in deferred contracts. Nearby hog futures have trickled lower at midday, but triple-digit gains continue to hold in most 2020 contracts as buyers steadily move back into the oversold market.

    Corn futures are higher in light trade. September corn futures are 5 1/4 cents higher. Stock markets are higher in light trade. Dow Jones is 272 points higher with NASDAQ up 133 points.


    Narrow gains are holding in most live cattle futures Thursday morning as firm outside market support has helped to allow buyers to trickle back into the complex. Although light to moderate gains have developed, the direction of cattle trade has not changed, with murky water still ahead for livestock markets through the upcoming days and weeks.

    Underlying concerns surrounding the health of the economy in the face of fierce trade battles with China is likely to limit upside market moves over the near future.

    Cash cattle markets remain quiet with bids slowly starting to trickle into the market. Southern bids of $109 per cwt are seen Thursday morning, while Northern dressed bids of $179 to $183 per cwt are available. Asking prices remain at $113 and higher live basis in the South and $185 and higher in the north on dressed basis. Most trade is likely to be pushed off until sometime Friday.

    Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.29 higher (select) and up $0.24 (choice) with light movement of 61 total loads reported (25 loads of choice cuts, 15 loads of select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 21 loads of ground beef).


    Feeder cattle markets remain confined to a narrowly mixed trading range Thursday morning with prices hovering from 12 cents lower to 32 cents higher. The ability to sustain light to moderate gains in nearby contracts despite the rally in grain trade has more to do with traders long term expectation of market firmness than production costs during morning trade.

    The higher feed costs are being seen in early 2020 contract months with less focus on beef demand and sluggish moves in live cattle trade. Market movement is expected to remain limited through the rest of the session.


    Limited activity developed Thursday morning with early gains eroding in nearby August and September contracts. The underlying pressure through the complex may add some additional market softness late in the session, but the underlying tone remains steady to firm thanks to additional buying activity across the rest of the complex.

    Firm outside market direction and aggressive recent cash hog movements is expected to bring some much needed firmness to the weak complex. The ability to move most contracts higher at closing bell should spark late week support through the complex with traders adjusting for increased buyer activity over the near future.

    Cash prices lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down $2.02 at $71.51 per cwt with the range from $62 to $75 on 4,099 head reported sold.

    Pork values continued higher based on firm gains in loin and belly cuts. Pork cutouts added $0.60 per cwt at $89.00 per cwt with 123 loads traded. Lean hog index for 8/6 is $83.43, down 0.76, with a projected two-day index is $82.85, down 0.58.

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