Light-to-moderate trade developed in the Northern tier of cattle feeding country with most dressed deals marked at $200, steady with last week. The Jan. 1 cattle inventory came in close to trade expectations, documenting the fourth consecutive year of growing numbers. Total cattle numbers were up 1% from the prior year. The beef cow herd was up 2%, as was the 2017 calf crop. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $0.77 higher ($62-$72, weighted average $70.34). Corn futures closed generally flat after a round of lackluster trading. Equities closed higher with the Dow up 72 points and the Nasdaq in the green by 9.
Live issues slumped 57 to 125 points lower, checked by long liquidation and technical-selling. Such sluggishness suggests that may work if the early year cash trade is maxing out. Beef cut-outs: mixed, up $0.37 (choice: $210.06) to off $0.05 (select: $204.32) with light-to-moderate demand and light offerings (66 loads of choice cuts, 23 loads of select cuts, 10 loads of trimmings, 25 loads of ground beef).
THURSDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady with midweek. Clean-up action could surface on Thursday and/or Friday, but the lion's share of the week's business could already be completed.
Feeders closed sharply lower, off 140 to 212. Besides the defensiveness of deferred live issues, feeders may have been pressured by the expansionary news likely to be contained in the Jan. 1 inventory. CME cash feeder index: 01/30: $147.51, off $0.15.
Spot Feb lean closed 77 points higher, supported by news from the country of strength bids. But most lean issues settled 15 to 65 lower with selling tied to longer-term demand uncertainty. Positively, summer contracts continue to hold about 100-day moving averages. Carcass value closed modestly higher as gains in ribs, bellies and picnics overshadowed losses in fresh cuts and hams. Pork cut-out: $82.73, up $0.17. CME cash lean index for 01/29: $73.84, up $0.01 (DTN Projected lean index for 01/30: $73.85, up $0.01).
THURSDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
Steady to $1 higher. The cash trade should open with a firm undertone in the morning with some short-bought packers still working to fill holes in Friday and Saturday kill schedules.