Moderate price support has trickled into the livestock complex following lackluster early trade Friday morning. The overall tone of the market remains firm, although the attention of traders is set on position taking at the end of the year. This could leave prices choppy through the rest of the session in all markets. Corn prices are lower in light trade. March corn futures are 1 cent lower Thursday. Stock markets are lower in light trade. The Dow Jones is 18 points lower while Nasdaq is down 11 points.
Following what has been a very sluggish trading session Friday morning, renewed buyer support moved back into the market. This allowed for traders to focus on pushing prices mostly higher as current markets are holding mixed trade from 30 cents lower to $1 per cwt higher. Front month December contracts continue to lead the market higher, although the overall tone of the complex is sluggish as traders are trying to roll contracts to February or April contract months. Light trade is expected to remain through the rest of the session, although support in beef values is helping to sustain the renewed buyer activity. Cash cattle activity still remains generally subdued Friday morning although bids have increased through the morning. Bids are now seen in all areas, although at this point there is a wide gap between current bids and asking prices, and it could be late Friday before a balance is found. This could limit overall early day activity and essentially allow trade to take place in one swoop through the end of the day. Bids are seen at $119 live and $190 to $191 dressed. Asking prices remain firmly at $125 to $126 live basis, and $195 and higher dressed. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $1.29 higher (select) and up $1.01 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 43 total loads reported (27 loads of choice cuts, 12 loads of select cuts, 1 load of trimmings, 3 loads of ground beef).
Feeder cattle futures have bounced higher at midday after posting moderate to firm losses through the entire morning. The overall lack of trade volume and traders interest in squaring positions ahead of year end is allowing for the late day market shift. Very little additional technical or fundamental market direction is developing allowing prices to shift in the moderate range based solely on overall trade interaction late in the day Friday. Traders will remain out of the market until Tuesday when they will start the 2018 year although the overall tone of the market is not likely to change significantly over the next couple of weeks.
Firm gains seen early in the session have started to slow slightly at midday with prices mixed from 2 cents lower to 30 cents higher. The overall tone of the market remains firm, but the overall lack of trade interest moving into the market late Friday is allowing traders to focus on position taking opportunities. This could limit additional market direction through the rest of the session and allow for generally stable prices going into the weekend. Cash prices are higher on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is up $0.53 at $58.46 per cwt with the range from $57.50 to $58.73 on 4,341 head reported sold. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The National Pork Plant Report posted 162 loads selling with carcass values gaining $0.23 per cwt. Lean hog index for 12/27 is at $61.58 down $0.01 with a projected two-day index of $61.72, up $0.14.