Even though both the feeder cattle and lean hog contracts are met with some mild resistance, largely, the livestock complex is trading higher. The live cattle contracts are taking the day's front-and-center stage as the momentum in the cash cattle market is helping to carry the market higher throughout the futures complex. May corn is up 1 3/4 cents per bushel, and May soybean meal is up $0.90. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 16.61 points, and the NASDAQ is up 41.85 points.
If there's one thing that the cash cattle market has got to learn from last week's trade, it's that pushing the week's business out until the later part of the week usually serves higher prices. And who doesn't like higher prices? Feedlots are once again looking to move the cash cattle market higher, and with the strong advancements seen in the boxed beef market, they stand on a strong platform to do so. Asking prices are around $121 or more in the South, and the North has yet to share their asking prices this week. The board is trading fully higher, which again supports a stronger cash cattle market. April live cattle are up $1.10 at $122.47, June live cattle are up $0.35 at $124.77 and August live cattle are up $0.25 at $123.55. Even if the board goes to trading softer later in the week, feedlots need to stick to their original asking prices and move the market higher again.
Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice up $3.30 ($261.97) and select down $0.87 ($248.99) with a movement of 78 loads (32.13 loads of choice, 14.76 loads of select, 19.59 loads of trim and 11.98 loads of ground beef).
After the recent roller coaster in the corn market, the feeder cattle contracts are happy to see the mostly lower trade developing in Tuesday's corn market. The nearby corn contracts are trading slightly higher ($0.01 higher in both the May and June contracts), but other than the spot and nearby contracts, the contracts are all trending lower, which is helping to take some of the pressure off the feeder cattle market. The conversation of stoutly higher cost of gains isn't going to be something that's soon forgotten about, as feedlots are easily absorbing expenses of $1.20 to $1.25 in cost of gains daily. Feedlots are getting creative in using other feed to help lessen their need for corn, but throughout the market, feed costs are problematic to their margins. Feedlots have recently been given some hope, as the cash cattle market has gained some momentum, which in turn excites the feeder cattle market. April feeders are down $0.05 at $146.40, May feeders are down $0.20 at $151.57 and August feeders are up $0.22 at $160.37.
The nearby lean hog contracts are perplexed over what to do in the time being, and the contracts trading throughout the 2021 summer aren't wanting to get much more bullish until full support indicates a reason to do so. Looking out to the extended future, the deferred contracts of the latter half of 2021 and beyond aren't being bothered by a thing! With pork supplies expected to continue to tighten, strong demand and short supplies are a bullish market's dream. Now that the Easter holiday is behind the market, it will be interesting to continue to watch slaughter speeds and packers' aggression toward the cash market. April lean hogs are down $0.57 at $101.82, June lean hogs are up $0.05 at $105.65 and July lean hogs are up $0.17 at $104.40.
The projected lean hog index for 4/5/2021 is up $0.24 at $100.34, and the actual index for 4/2/2021 is up $0.72 at $100.10. Hog prices are higher on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $0.16 with a weighted average of $97.37, ranging from $94 to $100 on 2,290 head and a five-day rolling average of $96.37. Pork cutouts total 234.72 loads with 217.88 loads of pork cuts and 16.84 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $0.53, $109.82.