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Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tuesday Closing Livestock Market Summary - Goodbye 2019

GENERAL COMMENTS:
It's official for market participants: The ball may not have dropped yet, but pop the top on your finest Champaign and say good riddance to 2019. Ready for a new year, a new market and hopefully new prosperity, producers and market participants are all ready for the clean new slate the new year offers. Hog prices are up on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $0.80 with a weighted average of $50.45. March corn is down 1/2 cent per bushel and March soybean meal is up $2.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 76.30 points and NASDAQ is up 26.61 points.

LIVE CATTLE:
The 2019 live cattle market closes higher than then 100-day moving average ($111.22) and higher than the 40-day moving average ($120.65,) but closes slightly lower than contracts did a year ago when the market wrapped up 2018 at $124.80. The live cattle contracts lacked to make any real progress Tuesday as traders were out for New Year festivities and knew that the market would be idle until after the first of the year. February live cattle closed $0.50 lower at $125.92, April live cattle closed $0.50 lower at $127.17 and June live cattle closed $0.10 lower at $118.90. Cash cattle have yet to pave a path this week, waiting for the end of the week to do their business.

Closing boxed beef prices are lower: choice down $0.24 ($209.42) and select down $3.29 ($202.12) with a large movement of 228 loads (117.86 loads of choice, 68.90 loads of select, 18.17 loads of trim and 22.60 loads of ground beef). Tuesday's slaughter is estimated at 100,000 head and Monday's slaughter was revised to 118,000 head.

THURSDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to $1.00 higher. A long-time respected cattlemen and market participant himself once told me, "the cattle market is nothing but an attitude." As we pause to take a day off Wednesday, I would bet that when the market resumes on Thursday there is a little bit different attitude floating around the market place. For some, with good reason, beef demand is excellent and slaughter is aggressive. And for others, nothing but the warm internal feeling of good luck that the new year tends to spread.

FEEDER CATTLE:
Closing the year on a slightly lower note, feeder cattle contracts tip again just a little lower. January feeder cattle are $0.10 lower at $145.32, March feeders are down $0.27 at $144.22 and April feeders are down $0.22 at $146.75. Able to close the year higher than the 100-day moving average ($141.82) and higher than the 40-day moving average ($144.48) but lower than last year's close of $148.85, feeder cattle contracts are eager to come back Thursday and really get to work. The CME feeder cattle index 12/30/19: $141.81 up $2.67.

LEAN HOGS:
December treated lean hog contracts better than some of the previous months. Although the day closed mostly lower in nearby contracts and faintly higher in deferred, hog producers are thankful for a higher cash market and pray to the lord above that Jan. 15 is prosperous like they've been told. February lean hogs closed $0.37 lower at $71.42, April lean hogs closed $0.70 lower at $77.92 and May lean hogs closed $0.60 lower at $84.05. Tuesday's market closed higher than the 100-day moving average ($64.86) and the 40-day moving average ($64.53), and even higher than last year's close of $60.97. Hang in there hog producers, the New Year is finally here. Pork cutouts totaled 393.83 loads with 349.06 loads of pork cuts and 44.77 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.73 at $73.02. Tuesday's slaughter is estimated at 424,000 head. The CME lean hog index 12/27/19: $58.17, down $0.86.


THURSDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Slightly higher. The market is ready for higher prices and producers are anxious for the time, but how much higher, and when, are the two biggest questions. Prices could be slightly higher towards the end of the week as new 2020 excitement floats around, but hog prices may be pushed to the back burner if cash cattle prices get aggressive. 


#completeherdhealth

Tuesday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Livestock Complex Dips Lower

General Comments

With trade volumes narrow and mixed with another shortened holiday week, the livestock market is relatively uneventful Tuesday and will most likely remain that way until sometime next week. March corn is down 3/4 cent per bushel, and March soybean meal is up $2.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 68.64 points, and the NASDAQ is down 3.89 points.

LIVE CATTLE
Cash cattle remains quiet with early asking starting out around $125 in the South and $200 in the North. The December live cattle contract expires Tuesday, and most interest has already trickled into the February contract. February live cattle are down $0.37 at $126.05, April live cattle are down $0.45 at $127.22 and June live cattle are down $0.12 at $118.87. All in all, the cattle complex is expected to remain quiet until after the new year and really until next week.

Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $0.22 ($209.88) and select down $1.96 ($203.45) with a movement of 133 loads (60.72 loads of choice, 49.15 loads of select, 10.26 loads of trim and 12.82 loads of ground beef).

FEEDER CATTLE
Feeder calf prices are unenthused to Tuesday's appearance and are steadily trading lower. January feeder cattle are down $0.15 at $145.27, March feeders are down $0.45 at $144.05 and April feeders are down $0.47 at $146.50. Feeder cattle contracts have been able to hold on to last Thursday's gains but are in a holding period -- feeling pressure from the $147.00 resistance plane but not wanting to subdue to lower prices, the feeder cattle market keeps its steady-to-slightly-lower trend.

LEAN HOGS
The market opened strong, steady with Monday's close, and was anxious about the announcement from President Donald Trump that, on Jan. 15, he will be signing the phase-one trade agreement with China. But the market has since dipped into lower prices in nearby contracts while deferred contracts are still trading positively. The market will most likely trade mostly sideways until next week offers a regular schedule and the opportunity for traders to have a full week.


The projected lean hog index for 12/27/19 is down $0.86 at $58.17. Due to packer submission problems, the National Daily Direct Morning Hog Report is unavailable. Pork cutouts total 209.95 loads with 192.57 loads of pork cuts and 17.39 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.18 at $73.57.


#completeherdhealth

Tuesday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Today Represents the End of a Wild Trading Year

GENERAL COMMENTS:

Limited activity has been seen and is expected to be seen through Tuesday in cash cattle markets. Although it is no surprise that very little interest was shown in cash markets Monday, the midweek holiday is likely to delay any significant developments in cash market trade until the last half of the week. Although some cattle may be priced, and there could be a few bids floated before the end of the day, both sides appear to be content with cattle sold through the end of 2019, and are willing to push any significant business into early 2020. The firming tone in the market through the end of the year and expectations that supplies will continue to tighten over the coming weeks is likely to point to steady to higher cash values at the end of the week. But limited overall holiday volume may still subdue most traders interest. Futures trade is expected to wander in a narrow to moderate trading range as traders seem to have one foot already out the door, with limited interest of causing any significant market shift before the end of the year. This should leave markets generally quiet through most of the session. Tuesday slaughter runs are expected near 91,000 head as packers head into the holiday break.

Mixed trade is expected early Tuesday as trades continue to focus on the underlying support being built into the market based on expectations that a partial trade deal will be signed at the end of the week. Although there has been no official announcement by either side, the continued focus that China officials are heading to the U.S. has sparked support in all nearby lean hog futures during early week trade. The main focus is being put on February contracts which posted triple-digit gains Monday and may continue gain support compared to other spring and summer contracts. Most early 2020 contracts already have a premium built into the price structure based on trade expectations planning that a partial trade deal will take place and China buying of pork will improve significantly over the next several months. Cash hog prices are called steady to 50 cents higher Tuesday morning with most bids expected steady. Slaughter Tuesday is expected at 405,000 head.


BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1) Firming boxed beef values following the Christmas holiday week appears to be helping to build some needed stability across the entire beef complex at the end of the year. 1) Despite continued strong cash cattle support over the last month, futures remain stuck under a "glass ceiling" as there remains limited support to break through current resistance levels and move to new contract highs. Continued inability to spark renewed buyer support during the next couple of weeks could quickly erode commercial buyer support through the entire complex.
2) Expectations of higher cash cattle prices during early January when both sides return from the midweek holiday break is likely to spark underlying support in futures trade. 2) Limited holiday trade is likely to keep traders on the sidelines for most of the week. This has the potential to create wide price swings that have little fundamental or technical significance, but can quickly disrupt market direction due to limited trade interest.
3) The expectations and possibility that a partial trade deal with China may be signed by the end of the week is sparking additional underlying buyer support in futures trade despite limited overall volume going into the New Year's holiday. 3) Despite wild expectations of improved China pork purchases over the next few months, the continued growth in the U.S. hog herd will add market ready hogs through most of 2020. This could create significant price pressure if there becomes any delay in China exports.
4) Even though activity remains limited, the strong push higher in cash hog price Monday is sparking expectations of underlying widespread market support seen through the entire hog complex. This is likely to help stimulate additional cash market support in the next few days. 4) Pork cutout values eroded during early week trade. The focus on continued large amounts of pork moving through the system and seasonal domestic demand pressure likely now that the holiday season is wrapping up could put even more short term pressure on pork values.


#completeherdhealth

Monday, December 30, 2019

Monday Closing Livestock Market Summary - Livestock Complex Closes Mixed

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Monday treated the livestock complex kindly, allowing some contracts to keep their support while others dabbled lower. Regardless, the market continues to trade sideways in awe of the New Year while cash markets etch higher. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $0.70 with a weighted average of $49.71. March corn is down 1 3/4 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is up $1.90. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 183.12 points and NASDAQ is down 60.63 points.
LIVE CATTLE:
Given that it's Monday and another holiday week, cash cattle trade has yet to be established and it wouldn't be unlikely to see trade hold off until the later part of the week. Live cattle contracts closed the day mixed - some contract steady, some lower and some slightly higher. February live cattle are down $0.27 at $126.42, April live cattle are down $0.10 at $127.67 and June live cattle are down $0.10 at $119.00.
Closing boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.70 ($209.66) and select up $0.84 ($205.41) with a movement of 106 loads (78.22 loads of choice, 12.75 loads of select, 4.85 loads of trim and 10.67 loads of ground beef). Monday's slaughter is estimated at 116,000 head, 39,000 head more than a year ago.
TUESDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady. With the market being closed Wednesday for New Years, it's most likely that live cattle will wait to trade until sometime after the holiday. It wouldn't be strange to see trade take shape like last week's, but with two holiday weeks back to back there are more cattle sell this week, and don't forget packers have cattle committed for delivery next week and the following week.
FEEDER CATTLE:
Feeder cattle contracts closed dancing on both sides of the line; nearby contracts closed lower, deferred contracts closed higher. While considering the New Year holiday, sale barns are anxious to get back to a regular schedule, and for those who were hit by this week's storm, they pray that road conditions get better before the end of the week. January feeders are down $0.12 at $145.42, March feeders are down $0.30 at $144.50 and April feeders are down $0.32 at $146.97. The CME feeder cattle index 12/27/19: $139.14, down $5.47.
LEAN HOGS:
Both Monday morning and Monday afternoon cash hog prices closed higher, and rumor that the phase one trade agreement could be signed as early as next week excites hog producers, but they know better than to bank on headlines. Lean hog contracts were able to hold gains throughout most contracts with just the most deferred contracts coming in slightly lower. February lean hogs are up $1.22 at $71.80, April lean hogs are up $0.75 at $78.62 and May lean hogs are up $0.32 at $84.65. Pork cutouts totaled 382.03 loads with 352.36 loads of pork cuts and 29.67 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.29 at $74.75. Monday's slaughter is estimated at 486,000 head, 92,000 head more than a year ago. The CME lean hog index 12/26/19: $59.03, down $0.06.
TUESDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. Given that some of the complex will step away Tuesday to enjoy New Year's Eve festivities, steady cash hog trade is the best bet.

#completeherdhealth

Monday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Mixed Livestock Complex With Stronger Undertones

General Comments
One more major holiday and then the market is in the clear for a while to trade normally. Despite coming off Thanksgiving, Christmas and now New Year's, the market has performed quite well, keeping the futures complex more or less steady and cash cattle prices have gained more position than assumed. March corn is down 2 1/4 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is up $2.20. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 90.11 points and NASDAQ is down 42.23 points.
LIVE CATTLE
Live cattle futures are mixed Monday morning, showing some lower prices in nearby contracts but more support in deferred contracts. February live cattle are down $0.35 at $126.35, April live cattle are down $0.17 at $127.60 and June live cattle are down $0.15 at $118.95. As the market looks to the New Year with anticipated higher prices, the live cattle market will surely reciprocate that same energy. It wouldn't be unlikely to see next week host higher prices as it's the first full trading week of the year, feeder cattle sales will resume, and packers will be able to process a full schedule.
Showlists for the week appear to be larger in all major feeding states.
Formula totals for last week: Kansas 68,820 (down 28,701), Nebraska 47,415 (down 16,079), Texas 58,162 (down 29,321). Total trade volume: Kansas 80,418 (down 31,939), Nebraska 66,722 (down 19,055), Texas not available due to confidentiality
Midday boxed beef values are higher: choice up $0.94 ($209.90) and select up $0.69 ($205.26) with a movement of 57 loads (40.96 loads of choice, 6.46 loads of select, 4.04 loads of trim and 5.45 loads of ground beef).
FEEDER CATTLE
Feeder cattle futures are teetering back and forth in nearby contracts on whether higher ground should be sought, while deferred contracts are having no trouble keeping contracts steadily higher. January feeders are down $0.02 at $145.52, March feeders are down $0.20 at $144.60 and April feeders are down $0.17 at $147.12. Feeder calf sales will remain quiet early this week, but toward the end of the week sales will start hosting their regular schedules again.
LEAN HOGS
Lean hog futures have had a fruitful Monday morning and look like the energy may stay throughout closing as the contracts have been steady in their demeanor. February lean hogs are up $1.02 at $71.60, April lean hogs are up $0.72 at $78.60 and May lean hogs are up $0.50 at $84.82.
The projected lean hog index for 12/27/19 is down $0.86 at $58.17, and the actual for 12/26/19 is reported at $59.03, down $0.09. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.27 with a weighted average of $49.28 ranging from $44.00 to $50.50 on 6,203 head sold and five-day rolling average of $48.76. Pork cutouts totaled 207.87 loads with 199.59 loads of pork cuts and 8.28 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $1.30, $76.34.

#completeherdhealth

Monday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Markets Focus on Winter Storms and Holiday Trade

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Cash cattle trade for 2019 appears to be wrapped up, unless packers and feeders remain much more aggressive than seen in the last several weeks and get any business done in the next two days. The ability to hold off trade until late last week proved to be profitable for cash cattle markets with moderate to strong support developing when trade finally developed Friday. Cattle feeders are expecting on building on this momentum with asking prices likely to remain elevated once again in the expectation that New Year's holiday activity will keep packers in an aggressive move once again. Show list distribution and inventory taking is the main order of business Monday, although most significant heavy lifting will likely be delayed until the new year when both sides return Thursday and Friday and focus on setting a course for January. The major winter storm that blew through the upper Midwest through the weekend is expected to still have a significant impact on moving cattle early in the week. This may significantly reduce overall weekly processing plans in a week where limited production was already expected. Futures trade is called mixed in limited early trade. Although firm support following the gains in cash cattle trade is likely, the limited volume heading into a holiday shortened trading week will likely limit overall movement Monday morning. Monday slaughter runs are expected at 114,000 head depending on weather conditions and cattle movement over the weekend.
Limited early movement is expected Monday morning as traders move into the last two trading sessions of 2019. Traders are happy the year is drawing to a close, but there continues to be growing uncertainty as to what early 2020 will look like. The holiday-subdued trade activity over the last week is expected to continue with limited new fundamental or technical direction likely through the entire week as traders appear to be treading water until they get into the heart of January and market activity becomes back to normal following holiday breaks. Cash hog prices are called steady to 50 cents higher Monday morning with most bids expected steady. Slaughter Monday is expected at 482,000 head.
BULL SIDEBEAR SIDE
1)Strong cash cattle trade which developed Friday sparked underlying fundamental bullishness through the end of the year. The fact that feeders were able to command asking prices on cattle sold during the Christmas week is expected to set greater expectations during January.1)Limited activity over the next two days as traders prepare for another midweek holiday is likely to still limit futures trade volume. This will once again put most of the emphasis in cash and futures market on the last half of the week and push activity into the New Year.
2)Traders continue to look for bullish market indications through the upcoming days and weeks with most of the focus on tighter cattle supplies during the first quarter of 2020. The potential to build additional short term premiums into cash and futures trade could spark bullish movement during the expected subdued holiday week.2)The major winter storm, which moved through the upper Midwest through the weekend, is expected to create market disruptions and light to moderate death loss. Although this may not cause a significant impact in futures or cash prices during the holiday week, it will create local disruptions and with most of the impact at the farm and feedlot levels.
3)Traders continue to remain optimistic surrounding the partial trade agreement with China. Although details have been limited during the holidays, the expectation that "no news is good news" as both sides work out the details is expected to create additional hope through the end of the year.3)Lack of support in futures and wholesale pork values following the Christmas holiday is creating additional concerns that additional underlying weakness may continue during early January.
4)Cash market support at the end of last week is expected to be used as a springboard to stimulate firm support through the end of the year. This combined with challenges to move hogs to market in the upper Midwest over the weekend is likely to further boost cash values during early week trade.4)Despite the ability to hold well above long-term support levels over the last month, February lean hog futures have found it hard to spark significant buyer support. Nearby lean hog futures are hitting a glass ceiling with prices just under $71 per cwt in spot contracts, as traders look for another lackluster week of activity due to the midweek holiday break.



#completeherdhealth

Friday, December 27, 2019

Friday Closing Livestock Market Summary - Old Saint Nick Had One Last Present for Cash Markets

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Cash cattle sellers and hog producers with hogs to sell were treated with one last gift of the year. Both cash markets closed out the week higher while the futures market was mostly steady after Thursday's push. Cash hog prices are higher on National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, up $0.39 with a weighted average of $49.06. March corn is up 1 1/2 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is down $3.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 23.87 points and NASDAQ is down 15.77 points.
Friday to Friday livestock futures scored the following changes: December live cattle up $1.28, February live cattle up $0.90; January feeder cattle up $1.28, March feeder cattle up $0.43; February lean hogs down $0.10, April lean hogs up $0.37.
LIVE CATTLE:
Cash cattle trade on Friday was like watching a racetrack for the first time. All week it felt like we were the horses in the box: ready, set .. ah, hell why not make the packers wait another day. Ready, set, ring-ring, no thank you: I'll sit on this pen a while longer. Ready, set, sold! When trade finally broke loose on Friday around noon it happened quick and cattle were selling; selling for higher money that is. Cattle in the South are trading anywhere from $122 to instances of $124 and cattle in the north are trading anywhere from $195 to $197. Some of the cattle in the north were sold with time for the weeks of 1/6/20 to 1/13/20. Nevertheless, feeders are feeling like Santa dropped off one last present as they close out another week and look to the New Year.
Boxed beef prices close lower: choice down $1.19 ($208.96) and select down $0.68 ($204.57) with a movement of 113 loads (64.05 loads of choice, 11.35 loads of select, 7.63 loads of trim and 30.38 loads of ground beef). Friday's slaughter is estimated at 122,000 head and Saturday's slaughter is estimated to be around 83,000 head.
MONDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady. With next week being another shortened week for the New Year's holiday, cash cattle trade will most likely be obsolete Monday, with cash trade expected later in the week.
FEEDER CATTLE:
Feeder cattle contracts closed the week on the upper end of Thursday's rally. January feeder cattle closed $0.10 higher at $145.55, March feeders closed $0.37 lower at $144.80 and April feeders closed $0.22 lower at $147.30. Early next week trade may be bumped with the New Year's holiday, but come Thursday and Friday the market should be starting to level out and looking forward to normal trading weeks. The CME feeder cattle index 12/26/19: $144.61, down $1.20.
LEAN HOGS:
Lean hog contracts had a Christmas week of mostly steady prices, some days higher, some days lower, but all in all trade mostly leveled out to be steady. February lean hogs closed $0.32 lower at $70.57, April lean hogs closed $0.40 lower at $77.87 and May lean hogs closed $0.17 lower at $84.32. While the board may have closed lower, it was encouraging to producers that the cash market was able to nab higher prices in the later part of the week. While there still is one more holiday to jump through before the market levels out and has normal trading weeks, hog producers are eager for the new year as it hopefully will unveil a trade agreement sooner rather than later. Pork cutouts totaled 320.66 loads with 285.72 loads of pork cuts and 34.94 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.74, at $75.04. Friday's slaughter is estimated at 483,000 head, and Saturday's slaughter is projected to be around 416,000 head. The CME lean hog index: no available at this time.
MONDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. With the cash market closing higher and the board sitting idle. It wouldn't be surprising for cash hogs to trade steady early in the week.

#completeherdhealth

Friday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Cash Cattle Trading Higher

General Comments
The futures complex may be sitting idly after Thursday's surge, but truly it is best for the market to take a day and pause rather than crashing higher and lower all in a matter of 48 hours. However, with that being said, the cash markets are ready to trade and are trading fully higher. March corn is up 1 cent per bushel and March soybean meal is down $3.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 58.79 points and NASDAQ is down 4.54 points.
LIVE CATTLE
When it rains, it sometimes pours for cash cattle trade. Seeing that feeders weren't going to take the lower bids that packers initially set, packers have upped their ante and are buying cattle for more money.
Fats in the South are bid at $119 to $120, while asking prices remain firm at $123. But cattle in the North have wasted no time Friday morning, selling anywhere from $195 to $197. Some cattle have been sold with time for the weeks of 1/6/20 and 1/13/20. Either way, feeders are feeling a little pep in their step as they walk into 2020 with a strong cash cattle market. December live cattle contracts are up $0.20 at $123.47, February live cattle are down $0.12 at $126.67 and April live cattle are down $0.05 at $127.60. It wouldn't be unlikely to see live cattle contracts trade both sides of Thursday's close as the market took a big jump and needs time to reassess.
Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice down $0.83 ($209.32) and select up $0.15 ($205.40) with a movement of 74 loads (47.42 loads of choice, 7.25 loads of select, 7.56 loads of trim and 11.78 loads of ground beef).
FEEDER CATTLE
Opening higher than Thursday's close, feeder cattle contracts are undecided on whether higher or lower trade should be next. January feeders are down $0.05 at $145.40, March feeders are down $0.22 at $144.95 and April feeders are down $0.17 at $147.35. Since Thursday posted such a significant rally in the feeder cattle contract, regardless if fat cattle trade higher or lower, the board is most likely going to sit idle until next week and trade both sides of Thursday's close.
LEAN HOGS
Cash markets are higher but the board isn't singing the same tune. February lean hogs are down $0.87 at $70.02, April lean hogs are down $0.50 at $77.77 and May lean hogs are down $0.40 at $84.10. The cattle complex may not be rallying like it was on Thursday, but the excitement of the market leans toward the cattle complex as cash trade is rallying and being quick about it.
The projected lean hog index for 12/26/19 is down $0.09 at $59.03 and the actual index for 12/24/19 is unchanged at $59.12. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.11 with a weighted average of $48.78, ranging from $43.00 to $50.00 on 8,100 head sold and a five-day rolling average of $48.61. Pork cutouts total 201.44 loads with 159.58 loads of pork cuts and 41.86 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up strong, up $3.57 at $79.35.


#completeherdhealth

Friday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Cattle Traders Look to Expand Holiday Gains

GENERAL COMMENTS:

It is not a huge surprise that it has come down to Friday cash cattle trade once again. Overall interest in the market before the holiday was extremely light, but packers still appear to need some additional cattle in order to fuel the abbreviated packing schedules next week. This should keep both sides on their toes through the entire day. Although the lack of cash market direction so far this week would suggest it could become a late-day affair once again this week, it is important to remember this is still considered a holiday weekend with many gatherings still taking place between the Christmas and New Year's holiday. Given the renewed support in futures trade and need for cattle, cash markets are likely to be no worse than steady, with the potential for light to moderate holiday support still keeping feeders holding onto higher asking prices. Cattle remain priced near $123 live basis in the South and $195 in the North, although the resolve will quickly fade through the end of the day if packer bids do not improve significantly. Futures trade is expected to renew the positive tone which developed Thursday as limited volume has allowed for underlying bullish market support to move back into all cattle markets. Although Thursday's gains have been unable to break through resistance levels, the reversal from the swift shift lower in feeder cattle trade appears to be sparking bullish technical support through the end of the week. Friday slaughter runs are expected at 119,000 head.

Lean hog futures are expected to remain lightly traded once again following extremely limited support or market direction during the holiday week. The complex continues to carry a sense of underlying support as traders look for increased market direction and potential for additional news concerning China trade during early 2020. But the lack of short-term news and limited overall volume across the entire complex is allowing traders to take a much less aggressive stance during the holiday week. With Saturday packer runs essentially wiping out lack of packers processing Wednesday due to the extremely high packer activity, any holiday impact on overall supplies or change in hog weights is expected to remain limited over the next couple of weeks. But with next week another holiday week and overall trade volume likely to remain extremely limited again, the narrowly mixed price ranges could continue into early January. Cash hog prices are called steady to 50 cents higher Friday morning with most bids expected to be steady. Slaughter Friday is expected at 481,000 head. Saturday runs are estimated at 415,000 head.


BULL SIDE BEAR SIDE
1) The strong resolve of cattle feeders to pass up steady money through the week is pointing to the expectation of $1 to $2 per cwt gains by some feedlot managers in order to move cattle during the holiday week. This could help the underlying cash market attitude, as these are likely the last cash cattle sales of 2019. 1) Boxed beef values have been less than supportive following the Christmas break. With Choice cuts posting triple-digit losses Thursday, the concern is additional wholesale price weakness may continue to develop through the end of December.
2)
January feeder cattle futures led the aggressive triple-digit rally Thursday. This move higher put short-term resistance levels in traders' sights, with new December highs very possible by the end of the week. A move above $145.67 per cwt in January futures during Friday's trading session would spark renewed technical support early next week.
2) Limited trade volume during the holiday week makes strong price support seen Thursday less certain than normal weeks. Traders are well aware of how limited interest can quickly change the direction of price levels, creating concerns of a end-of-week market reversal.
3) Traders look for increased buyer support from China through the end of the year. It is uncertain just how much of the talked about buying activity will show up before the New Year, but traders are looking more for consistent buyer support, rather than a certain total on a weekly basis. 3) Pork cutout values struggled Thursday, leaving concerns that previous support may be quickly eroding as holiday buying has wrapped up. This could limit additional movement through the entire complex Friday.
4) With February live hog futures becoming well rooted above $70 per cwt and April futures above $78 per cwt, it appears seasonal lows have been set. This could help to spark additional strong buyer support through the end of the year and create additional market momentum during early 2020. 4) Although Christmas week is nearly in the books, the fact that another week of limited trade and holiday adjusted trading schedules is just around the corner is creating concern that traders may break away from the steadily mixed market direction seen over the past few days. Increased end-of-year positioning may spark some volatile market swings through the remainder of December.


#completeherdhealth

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Thursday Closing Livestock Market Summary - Cattle Contracts Close Higher, Lean Hog Market Closes Mixed

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Cattle contracts pushed higher and the lean hog market opted to do the same in nearby contracts while deferred contracts dipped slightly lower. Cash cattle have yet to trade, putting a lot of pressure on Friday. Feeders are praying that the board opens Friday with the same momentum and packers are hoping that it is a weird holiday fluke. Cash hog prices are not available at this time. March corn is up 1 cent per bushel and March soybean meal is down $2.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 105.94 points and NASDAQ is up 69.51 points.
LIVE CATTLE:
The board closed substantially higher for the day and fat cattle have yet to sell, leading Friday to be an eventful day. December live cattle closed $0.62 higher at $123.27, February live cattle closed $0.97 higher at $126.80 and April live cattle closed $0.85 higher at $127.65. Etching closer to the heavy resistance plane at $130.00, live cattle contracts closed another successful day and if able to find the support again Friday, should push cash prices higher. There was a little more trade in Iowa again at $122.00, fully steady with last week's weighted average.
Tuesday's slaughter was estimated at 30,000 head, there was nothing processed on Wednesday and Thursday's estimated slaughter is at 120,000 head.
Closing boxed beef prices are mixed: choice down $1.42 ($210.15) and select up $0.61 ($205.25) with a significant movement of 202 loads (133.77 loads of choice, 23.47 loads of select, 10.67 loads of trim and 34.32 loads of ground beef).
FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: $1.00 to $2.00 higher. Friday will be a bid day for cash cattle trade. We know that packers need cattle given their early inquiries and feeders have plenty to give with show lists plenty full. Seeing that Thursday's movement of boxed beef was large, it will boost moral about beef demand and should help feeders pinch prices higher.
FEEDER CATTLE:
Closing the day with the highest marks, feeder cattle contracts rallied prices almost $2.00 higher in some contracts. January feeders closed $1.87 higher at $145.45, March feeders closed $1.50 higher at $145.17 and April feeders closed $1.52 higher at $147.52. It makes sense that the feeder cattle rallied side by side the live cattle market, but some of the market's ambition may be holiday driven and we could see some of Thursday's gains potentially given back in the next little while. The CME feeder cattle index 12/25/19: 145.81, down $0.12.
LEAN HOGS:
The lean hog market kept the day's initial market and closed mixed with nearby contracts higher and deferred contracts lower. February lean hogs closed $0.20 higher at $70.90, April lean hogs closed $0.27 higher at $78.27 and May lean hogs closed steady at $84.50. Pork cutouts had a huge day totaling 530.40 loads with 485.93 loads of pork cuts and 44.48 loads of trim. Pork cutouts values: down $1.05 at $75.78. Tuesday's slaughter was estimated at 145,000 head, plants were shut down on Wednesday and Thursday's slaughter is estimated at 493,000 head. The CME lean hog index 12/23/19: $59.09 up $0.02.
FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Higher undertones. The market had some catching up to do in meat sales and that makes sense as to why so many loads of pork sold. However, the fact that there still is strong demand for protein leads one to think that cash sales could have a positive undertone for the week's end.


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Thursday Midday Livestock Market Summary - Cattle Contracts Push Higher; Lean Hog Contracts Mixed

General Comments
Cattle feeders woke up to a Christmas surprise indeed. Having the board push higher in both cattle contracts seems to be cinching up the deal that cash cattle will trade higher. March corn is up 1/2 cent per bushel and March soybean meal is down $2.60. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 47.74 points and NASDAQ is up 40.88 points.
LIVE CATTLE
After a day's break, cattle contracts are rested and ready to get back to business. December live cattle are up $0.35 at $123.00, February live cattle are up $0.72 at $126.55 and April live cattle are up $0.62 at $127.42. With the December contract nearing expiration (12/31/19) little interest remains in this month's contract as February and April take the most of the market's interest. As cattle contracts trade notably higher, cash cattle trade sits idle. Packers have gingerly tested the waters and laid a couple of lower bids on the table, but feeders are anxious for the new, knowing that prices will soon be on the rise. In the meantime, they are kicked back and waiting for a later Friday with higher prices. A light run of cattle sold for $120.17 in Iowa late Tuesday night, but it's not enough to call the market trading yet.
Midday boxed beef prices are mixed: choice down $1.25 ($210.32) and select up $0.72 ($205.36) with a movement of 143 loads (95.90 loads of choice, 16.02 loads of select, 7.96 loads of trim and 23.03 loads of ground beef).
FEEDER CATTLE
Feeder cattle contracts are steaming into the noon hour well over $1.00 higher in most contracts. January feeder cattle are up $1.55 at $145.12, March feeders are up $1.25 at $144.92 and April feeders are up $1.17 at $147.17.
LEAN HOGS
The lean hog complex came out, opening semi-strong with cattle contracts but has since stepped back to trading mostly sideways. Nearby contracts are slightly higher while deferred contracts are slightly lower. February lean hogs are down $0.02 at $70.67, April lean hogs are up $0.15 at $78.15 and May lean hogs are up $0.10 at $84.60.
The projected lean hog index for 12/24/19 is unchanged at $59.12, and the actual for 12/20/19 came in at $59.12, down $0.78. Due to packer submission problems, the National Direct Morning Hog Report is not available at this time. Pork cutouts total 344.21 loads with 319.71 loads of pork cuts and 24.50 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $1.44 at $78.27.


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Thursday Morning Livestock Market Summary - Cash Cattle Interest Expected

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Asking prices are expected to redevelop around $123 live in the South and $195 and higher in the North on dressed basis. The focus on three strong days of slaughter schedules yet this week to make up for the Christmas break will not only allow for additional movement of product, but focus on the need to increase commitments for next week. It is uncertain if trade will develop Thursday, or wait until late Friday as is many times the case, but packer bids may start to become much more available through Thursday morning. Futures trade is expected mixed in limited holiday trade activity. Although it is likely that more volume will be seen over the next couple of days than was seen Tuesday, many traders are still absent from the market as holiday vacations continue to take precedence. With USDA offices closed on Tuesday, no cash or meat prices or information have been released on Tuesday or Wednesday, which will put more focus on the morning reports that will be released midmorning Thursday. Thursday slaughter runs are expected at 121,000 head.
Despite the limited holiday trade activity through the week, a firm undertone continues to hold in lean hog futures trade as traders look at the potential for increased demand from China over the upcoming weeks and months. The combination of a "phase 1" trade agreement that apparently is being hammered out, and China's announcement that they are lowering tariff levels for all trade partners on over 850 products is creating additional hope and expectations that increased movement of pork to China will be seen during early 2020. Futures trade remains generally cautious, but seems to be optimistic with prices testing short-term support in nearby contracts, but still a long ways from breaking out of the sideways market trend seen during the last two months. Even with the firming undertone seen in the complex following the Christmas break, trade is expected mixed as traders position holiday activity due to the limited volume in the complex. Cash hog prices are called steady to firm Thursday morning with most bids expected to be steady. Slaughter Thursday is expected at 495,000 head. Saturday runs are estimated at 415,000 head.
BULL SIDEBEAR SIDE
1)Packers go back to work Thursday morning as they try to fill inventory needs for the end of the year. This is expected to leave to steady to higher cash prices over the next two days.1)Limited trade volume through the rest of the holiday-shortened trading week is likely to limit overall movement of cattle futures. This could allow prices to limp into January with little additional market direction.
2)
Nearby live cattle futures continue to hold near the top end of recent trading ranges through the end of the year. This is expected to spark additional bullish market support over the near future as traders look for tighter cattle supplies over the coming weeks.
2)With USDA and government offices closed Tuesday for the Christmas break, no cash or meat market information was available to the market Tuesday. This will create some uncertainty given the lack of information some traders utilize on a daily basis.
3)Continued focus on pork demand heading to China will likely be front and center through the end of the year. The potential for increased export to China in the coming months could quickly spur aggressive futures trade support in all nearby contracts.3)Total hog numbers as of Dec. 1 increased 3% from year ago levels with a total of 77.3 million hogs in the nation's herd. This increase in herd size continues to focus on readily available pork supplies which will likely continue to keep market prices subdued.
4)Strong domestic demand for pork continues to remain despite all of the uncertainty in export markets. This ability to actively clear the glut of pork over the last year has boosted consumer demand for pork, creating expectations of further strength through early 2020.4)Futures market volume is expected to remain limited through the rest of the week with many traders still extending Christmas holiday schedules. The extremely active cash hog movement over the next three days may cause some uncertainty and wider price shifts between cash and futures market direction.Limited details of the phase one trade deal that is being finalized and hope to be signed in early 2020 creates uncertainty in pork markets as there are questions of how this will affect pork demand on a short- and long-term basis.



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Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Tuesday Closing Livestock Market Summary - Steady to Higher Close in the Livestock Complex

GENERAL COMMENTS:
Christmas may be Wednesday, but don't check out for the week completely as fat cattle have yet to sell and feeders are pushing for higher prices. February live cattle are up $0.15 at $125.825, January feeder cattle are up $0.05 at $143.575, February lean hogs are up $0.45 at $70.7, March corn is down 1/2 cent per bushel and March soybean meal is up $0.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 36.08 points and NASDAQ is up 7.23 points.

LIVE CATTLE:
It felt as though on Monday packers were going to be aggressive and try to get their work done for the week early, but as more time has passed by, packers and feeders have sat quiet. Seeing that cash cattle have yet to trade for the week, it's very likely that the anticipated higher cash market will be hunted. As the market enters into the first quarter, feeders know that readily available fat cattle supplies are at their lowest, and with the vigorous slaughter the market has been pushing for, that's going to hold true through 2020. December live cattle closed $0.25 higher at $122.65, February live cattle closed $0.15 higher at $125.82 and April live cattle closed $0.15 higher at $126.80.

FEEDER CATTLE:
Closing the day partly mixed, feeder cattle contracts were able to close somewhat higher before the Christmas holiday. January feeder cattle closed $0.05 higher at $143.57, March feeders closed $0.05 lower at $143.67 and April feeders closed $0.05 higher at $146.00. Though the board pulled slightly higher, it's most accurate to say prices are dancing around both sides of steady until the market really begins to trade again.

LEAN HOGS:

Closing the day highest for the livestock sector, lean hog contracts are anxious for the new year. Contracts posted steady gains anywhere from up $0.07 to $0.60 stronger. February lean hogs closed $0.45 higher at $70.7, April lean hogs closed $0.45 higher at $78.00 and May lean hogs closed $0.60 higher at $84.50. As time keeps ticking closer and closer to the new year, lean hog contracts are steady, ready to trade when the time arises. 


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