Light to moderate trade volume surfaced in several areas Friday with Southern markets better tested than Northern business. Most live transactions in the South were marked at $128.00, $2.00 lower than last week. Dressed deals in the North were reported in a wide range, from $200.00-$206.00. Note that the bottom of the dressed range generally included extra delivery days (i.e., stretching into mid to late April). The national hog base closed off $0.45 compared with the Prior Day settlement ($56.00-$62.50, weighted average $61.38). From Friday to Friday, livestock futures scored the following changes: Apr LC Off $2.15; Jun LC Off $1.98; May FC Off $1.10; Aug FC Off $1.52; Apr LH Off $1.60; May LH Off $2.37. Corn futures closed about 6 cents higher, supported by planting intentions that totaled 1 million acres short of expectations (i.e., 90 million acres). The stock market closed lower with the Dow off 65 and the Nasdaq down by 2.
Futures closed mostly higher up 22 to off 5. Live contracts spent most of the day underwater, pressured by long-liquidation and fears of softening beef demand. Yet decent buying interest regrouped near the lows of the day, allowing live issues to finish marginally in the green. Needless to say, spot April remains far below feedlot cash as traders worry about a disappointing combination of larger supplies and below-average demand in the second quarter. Beef cut-outs: lower to sharply lower (choice, $214.12 off $1.09, select $204.00 off $4.05) on light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings (73 loads of choice cuts, 29 loads of select cuts, 08 loads of trimmings, 31 loads of coarse grinds).
MONDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady to $2.00 lower. Monday's action will no doubt be limited to the distribution of new showlists. We expect ready numbers to be steady to somewhat larger. Next week's cash stability may hinge a great deal upon the ability of the box beef trade to stabilize.
Futures closed higher to sharply higher up 55-140. As in the case of live futures, feeders ended Friday's session much better than they began. Indeed, most contracts settled 200 points or more above session lows. Apparently, lower prices in the early going were successful in attracting both short-covering and renewed commercial buying. CME cash feeder index: 03/30: $132.77, off $0.08.
Futures closed mixed up 12 to off 65. Lean futures did a pretty good job Friday reacting to the logical implications of the March 1 hogs and pigs report. Specifically, nearby contracts were more pressured by evidence pointing to plentiful nearby supplies. On the other hand, deferred contracts held up much better, no doubt supported by smaller-than-expected sow numbers and farrowing intentions. Pork cut-out: $75.40 (FOB Plant) up $0.22. CME cash lean 03/29: $68.86, off $0.54 (DTN Projected lean index for 03/30: $68.30, off $0.56).
MONDAY'S CASH HOG CALL
Steady to $1.00 lower. Hog buyers seem likely to start out with steady/weak bids on Monday, mindful of ample ready supplies and the recent weakness of pork demand.