Livestock futures trade has moved sharply lower, allowing for increased underlying pressure in live cattle and lean hog markets. April live cattle and lean hog trade have posted triple-digit losses, as traders adjust positions at the end of the month. Limited volume is expected to be seen through the next couple hours as current losses are likely to hold. Corn markets are lower in light trade. March corn futures are 4 1/2 cents lower. Stock markets are mixed in light trade. Dow Jones is 55 points higher with Nasdaq up 96 points.
Triple-digit losses have quickly moved into live cattle trade at midday following choppy and unsettled market moves that ranged between moderate gains and strong losses. April and June futures are holding $1.20 per cwt losses at midday as traders are quickly adjusting these nearby contracts due to recent contract highs. Market adjustments at the end of January are having a much more significant impact that any other fundamental or technical factor. Cash cattle interest has remained extremely sluggish through the morning with a few bids seen in Texas at $121 per cwt. Bids that were seen midweek in Nebraska have not been restated at this point, creating the uncertainty of packer activity Thursday. At this point, packers may wait until Friday, and moving into the month of February before inking deals. Asking prices are seen at $126 and higher live and $200 to $203 dressed. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are lower, $0.49 lower (select) and down $2.04 per cwt (choice) with moderate movement of 88 total loads reported (56 loads of choice cuts, 6 loads of select cuts, 10 loads of trimmings, 16 loads of ground beef).
Limited pressure seen in the first two hours of trade has sparked moderate to firm price pressure midday. This has allowed for losses of 60 to 90 cents per cwt to quickly step into the market, focusing on lack of support seen in live cattle futures. Although the technical and fundamental tone of the market remains firm, there continues to be increased end of the month positioning flooding through the complex.
Strong pressure has continued to move back into the lean hog complex as technical weakness is developing in April contracts. Despite light buyer support moving back into the complex during the early minutes of trade, any sense of buyer activity has quickly eroded with triple digit losses seen in April contracts. The lack of support in actively traded April contracts is sparking additional weakness through the rest of the complex with contracts holding 32 cents to $1.45 per cwt losses. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the National Direct morning cash hog report. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. Pork carcass values are higher on the morning report with prices gaining $1.54 per cwt at $68.51 per cwt with 145 loads traded. Lean hog index for 1/29 is $57.67, down $0.22, with a projected two-day index is $57.40, down $0.27.