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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          08/19 11:30

   Cattlemen Await Cattle on Feed Report

   Heading into the market's last afternoon of the week, cattlemen are going to 
be fixated on seeing how placements shape up in Friday afternoon's Cattle on 
Feed report.

ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst


   Heading into Friday afternoon, the cattle complex's focus will be on how 
placements fare in Friday afternoon's Cattle on Feed report. The lean hog 
complex isn't expected to do much more than continue its descend, but noting 
how the day's pork cutout value closes out is important. December corn is up 5 
3/4 cents per bushel and December soybean meal is down $7.30. The Dow Jones 
Industrial Average is down 246.63 points.


   The live cattle market is trending modestly higher into Friday's afternoon 
as the market recovers somewhat after Thursday's sharply lower end. On Thursday 
afternoon, the livestock complex dealt with outside pressures, but the market 
was still able to trade cash cattle, and Friday's market hasn't forgotten that 
key fundamental win. A light trade developed Thursday afternoon with Southern 
live cattle traded at mostly $142, which his $2.00 higher than last week's 
weighted average, and Northern dressed cattle sold for mostly $234, which is 
$4.00 higher than last week's weighted average. The big questions remaining 
this week are: How many cattle traded, what delivery option where they bought 
with, and how are packers going to manage processing speeds moving ahead? There 
are a couple of plants rumored to be dark next week, which could be packers' 
way of slowing down throughput. Nevertheless, front-end supplies are extremely 
thin, and feedlots possess a lion's share of the market's leverage as packers 
want to continue a relatively strong processing pace as boxed beef prices are 
still rewarding, and international demand is strong. August live cattle are up 
$0.35 at $141.62, October live cattle are up $0.57 at $145.32 and December live 
cattle are up $0.42 at $150.97.

   Friday's Imported Meat for Entry Into the U.S. report shared that fresh beef 
imports totaled 21,569 metric tons, which Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and Brail 
carrying the lion's share of the business (up 11% from a year ago). Processed 
beef imports totaled 1,782 metric tons (up 22% from a year ago).

   Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.12 ($264.51) and select up $0.72 
($238.19) with a movement of 34 loads (16.69 loads of choice, 9.07 loads of 
select, zero loads of trim and 8.20 loads of ground beef).


   As the corn complex sports a $0.04 to $0.06 rally heading into Friday 
afternoon, the feeder cattle contracts are trending lower without much 
excitement being noted in their market. Aside from corn trending slightly 
higher, potentially the biggest reason feeder cattle could be trading lower 
heading into Friday's afternoon is because there are concerns that Friday 
afternoon's Cattle on Feed report could be bearish on placements. Given the big 
liquidation push that came in Texas during the month of July, it's likely that 
placements are higher than what analysts assumed which would cast a bearish 
tone over the report. However, even with higher placements, the market could 
see a couple days' worth of doggish trade, but the reports won't likely derail 
the strong technical support that the market possesses nor the demand that 
feeder cattle and calves are seeing. August feeders are up $0.17 at $181.70, 
September feeders are down $0.52 at $184.75 and October feeders are down $0.77 
at $186.90.


   The lean hog complex continues to barrel lower as the market has come under 
immense technical pressure. As the pork cutout value shows signs of exhaustion, 
traders are sending the contracts lower as they believe that the market's 
nearby days of running higher could be over. October lean hogs are down $0.05 
at $93.22, December lean hogs are down $1.32 at $83.87 and February lean hogs 
are down $1.87 at $86.92. The belly has been the pork cutout values swinging 
variable and, as of late, whiplash-like drastic changes have sent prices all 
over the place, but weaker tones are the markets main driver.

   The projected lean hog index for Aug. 18 is down $0.31 at $120.29 and the 
actual index for Aug. 17 is down $0.02 at $120.60. Hog prices are lower on the 
Daily Direct Morning Hog report, down $2.77 with a weighted average of $116.35, 
ranging from $113.50 to $129.00 on 3,198 head and a five-day rolling average of 
$123.43. Pork cutouts total 121.68 loads with 105.14 loads of pork cuts and 
16.55 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.05, $118.52.

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached

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