The tone through the entire livestock complex is shaky as the market can't decide where the day's trade is going to land. As corn futures bounce around from sharply higher to modestly lower, the cattle contracts absorb the market's whiplash reactions. The only constant market is the lean hog complex which is continuing to trade past pre-existing resistance levels and thus far hasn't been met with much pressure to retreat and trade lower. July corn is up 4 1/4 cents per bushel and July soybean meal is down $7.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 302.47 points and NASDAQ is down 41.10 points.
Even though live cattle futures aren't dependent on the corn market like the feeder cattle contracts are, live cattle contracts have been caught in the back-and-forth nature of Monday's trade thanks to the volatile corn market. June live cattle are down $0.60 at $115.97, August live cattle are down $0.12 at $118.50 and October live cattle are up $0.20 at $123.10. If the market can summon traders, there's plenty of room for higher trade as the contracts are far from any resistance. But the doggish nature of the cash cattle market in recent weeks hasn't lent much support to futures. Showlists this week are somewhat larger in Texas, larger in Kansas and somewhat smaller in Nebraska and Colorado.
Last week's negotiated cash cattle trade totaled 70,438 head. Of that 66% (46,203 head) were bought for delivery in the next two upcoming weeks and the remaining 34% (24,235 head) were bought for delivery in the following 15 to 30 days. Even though the market should be seeing purchases closer to 100,000 head each week given how strong boxed beef demand is, it was better to see last week's purchases mostly go toward the immediate delivery versus the deferred option.
Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $1.91 ($298.41) and select up $0.96 ($284.01) with a movement of 36 loads (19.45 loads of choice, 3.59 loads of select, 7.93 loads of trim and 5.00 loads of ground beef).
Corn futures have jumped all over the board Monday and, consequently, the feeder cattle contracts are unsure of where their nearby fate will lie. With corn prices as lofty as they are, the feeder cattle market is at the mercy of the corn market -- if it's going to be granted higher trade at all. As the noon hour rolls around, the corn market's attitude is still undecided and so volatile behavior is expected to continue throughout the feeder complex. May feeder cattle are down $0.27 at $133.32, August feeders are up $0.20 at $146.95 and September feeders are up $0.25 at $149.52.
When we checked out of the markets last week, we all wondered how Monday's trade would treat the lean hog complex. Would the market dive lower and submit to the pressure looming at $110? Or would the market's fundamental support be strong enough to drive prices past $110 and soar beyond? There's still a lot of time for the market to regress lower Monday afternoon, but at this point it is looking like the market is quite confident in sailing past $110.00 and doesn't intend to look back. June lean hogs are up $1.35 at $111.10, July lean hogs are up $1.67 at $110.92 and August lean hogs are up $1.52 at $107.02.
The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 4/30/2021 is up $0.21 at $107.10 and the actual lean hog index for 4/29/2021 is steady at $106.89. Hog prices are lower on the National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $3.61 with a weighted average of $108.15, ranging from $107.05 to $116.00 on 3,205 head and a five-day rolling average of $109.78. Pork cutouts total 146.71 loads with 127.37 loads of pork cuts and 19.34 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $1.83, $112.29.