Feedlot country was quiet through the day as packers limited efforts to the collection of new showlists. Ready numbers appear to be generally smaller than last week with only Nebraska showing more cattle. According to the closing report, the national hog base is $0.14 higher ($52-$59, weighted average $58.35). Corn futures settled 2-3 cents higher, supported by another round of dry forecasts for Brazil. The stock market closed lower with the Dow off 148 points and the Nasdaq down by 53.
The big question on the last trading day for spot April concerned the immediate future of the large June discount. Would the new early summer spot finally make a move toward cash or stick to its old defensive ways. Given how the board closed sharply lower, apparently the latter. Spot April closed down 70, near dead even with last week's 5-area steer average of $123.73. The rest of the market faltered by 90 to 197 points, essentially ignoring the late April cash and still convinced that second-quarter tonnage would eventually overwhelm beef demand (e.g., June settled at $106.10, roughly $18 below feedlot cash. Beef cut-outs: significantly higher, up $0.47 (select: $204.79) to $2.68 (choice: $224.42) with moderate demand and heavy offerings (53 loads of choice cuts, 39 loads of select cuts, 10 loads of trimmings, 14 loads of ground beef).
TUESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL:
Steady to $2 higher. Look for a typically quiet Tuesday with bids and asking prices remaining poorly defined.
Feeder futures also returned to their long-rehearsed bearish script, closing 160 to 205 lower and essentially erasing the short-covering rally seen on Friday. On an estimated run of 11,500 head (up from 4,952 last week and 5,001 in 2017), Oklahoma City sold feeder steers and heifers mostly steady to $3 higher. 04/27: $139.31, off $0.68.
The lean hog trade closed on a mixed basis in slow trade volume. Settlement ranged from 35 points higher to 75 lower. Seasonally, many specs would probably like to buy this market. Yet they need to first see either tighter numbers and/or better pork demand. So far, they seen few signs of encouraging supply or demand. Carcass value closed modestly higher with lower hams and loins overshadowed by better demand for butts, picnics, ribs and bellies. Pork cut-out: $68.73, up $0.12. CME cash lean index for 04/26: $61.75, up $0.52 (DTN Projected lean index for 04/27: $62.20, up $0.45).
TUESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL:
Steady. Hog buyers are likely to resume procurement chores in the morning with basically steady bids.