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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          04/16 11:58

   Strong Pork Gains Push Futures Higher

   Sluggish mixed trade seen through most of the morning was replaced by strong 
lean hog gains at midday. Active buyer interest quickly developed following a 
strong surge in pork carcass values in the morning report. 

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst


   Livestock futures remained very lightly traded through most of the morning 
with prices stuck in a narrowly mixed range. But that quickly changed in lean 
hog futures following aggressive support from pork values in the morning 
report. This quickly drew buyers back into the market and pushed nearby futures 
more than $1 per cwt higher. Cattle trade remains quiet with prices still stuck 
in a narrowly mixed price range. Corn futures are lower at midday. May corn 
futures are 5 cents per bushel lower. Stock markets are higher in light trade. 
The Dow Jones is 114 points higher while Nasdaq is up 33 points.


   Narrow price ranges have defined the live cattle complex Wednesday morning 
with traders seemingly uninterested in stepping into the market at this point. 
April and June contract months have bounced 22 cents per cwt higher at midday, 
but compared to a normal price shifts, even this move may not be enough to draw 
any additional attention to the market. The rest of the complex remains mostly 
lower in a very narrow range as traders are looking for increased support from 
outside markets as well as potential beef value support. Cash cattle markets 
are testing the waters with a few scattered sales reported going to regional 
packers in the North with prices at $150-per-cwt live basis. Bids are slowly 
developing at $240 in the North dressed basis, but these are expected to be 
from regional packers at this point too. Asking prices are holding at $149 to 
$150 in the South and $243 and higher in the North. Beef cut-outs at midday are 
higher, $0.82 per cwt higher (select) and up $0.30 per cwt (choice) with 
moderate movement of 121 total loads reported (50 loads of choice cuts, 35 
loads of select cuts, zero loads of trimmings, 36 loads of ground beef).


   Feeder cattle are unable to show any life at all through the morning 
Wednesday as prices are mixed within a single-digit price range over nearby 
contracts. Slightly more aggressive pressure is seen in deferred futures 
following softness in corn prices during morning trade. But overall, traders 
seem to be overlooking the cattle market, in favor of hanging out on the 
sidelines as mere observers. 


   Lean hog futures remained stable in a narrowly mixed price range through 
most of the morning. But midday support in pork values, sparked additional 
buyer support in all nearby contract months. June futures quickly went from 
narrow losses to gains near $1 per cwt, with the potential to draw even more 
support through the end of the trading session. The focus on higher pork values 
may only have limited interest, given the short trading week, but for now the 
kindle under the hog market has been rekindled. Cash prices are lower on the 
National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price fell $2.12 
per cwt to $114.67 per cwt with the range from $105.00 to $115.47 per cwt on 
3,056 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 320 loads with prices adding $2.38 per cwt. Lean hog index for 
4/14 is at $124.12 down 1.43, with a projected two-day index of $123.08 down 

   Rick Kment can be reached at 


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