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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          04/14 11:44

   Cattle Contracts Feeling Pressured

   The live cattle and feeder cattle contracts are struggling as the market's 
pressure seem to outweigh its current strength.

ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst


   The cattle contracts are faced with the same pressure that Tuesday posed as 
the corn market traders higher and the cash cattle market is waiting the week 
out, hoping to muster higher prices again this week. Meanwhile, the lean hog 
contracts are trading higher and are looking to keep these positive gains, 
hopefully through the day's close. May corn is up 15 1/4 cents per bushel and 
May soybean meal is up $2.70. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 207.21 
points and NASDAQ is down 25.55 points.


   The live cattle complex is caught trading lower as the market neglects to 
find any interest from traders at this point in the day. April live cattle are 
down $0.22 at $122.17, June live cattle are down $0.57 at $120.32 and August 
live cattle are down $0.60 at $120.30. The online auction didn't summon any 
reasonable bids from packers and the countryside still sits quietly without 
bids having surfaced as of yet. Feedlots know that if they want higher prices 
this week, it's going to be by patiently waiting and drawing the week's trade 
out until Thursday or Friday. Asking prices in the South are marked at $125 and 
in the North from $200 to $205. Packers could begin to show more interest as 
the day rolls into the afternoon.

   The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction listed a total of 3,966 head (Nebraska 2,067 
head, Texas 1,862 head and 37 head in Kansas), of which none actually sold as 
they did not meet the reserve prices that ranged from $122 to $128. Opening 
prices ranged from $120.50 to $128; high bids ranged from $120.50 to $126.

   Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $2.18 ($272.29) and select up $1.36 
($267.90) with a movement of 75 loads (39.10 loads of choice, 10.77 loads of 
select, 16.01 loads of trim and 9.46 loads of ground beef).


   As corn prices keep scaling higher the feeder cattle contracts are feeling 
pretty doom and gloom as input costs are sucking profits away rather quickly 
from feedlots' bottom line. April feeders are down $1.25 at $141.20, May 
feeders are down $1.55 at $145.77 and August feeders are down $1.52 at $156.62. 
Technically speaking, the feeder cattle contracts have plenty of room for 
opportunity and upside potential, the market's ability to trade higher is only 
going to surface if pressure from higher inputs lessens or if cash cattle begin 
to trade higher again this week.


   While the cattle contracts are floundering lower, the lean hog contracts are 
determined to keep their upward surge. June lean hogs are up $0.65 at $106.87, 
July lean hogs are up $0.32 at $104.60 and August lean hogs are steady at 
$100.25. The cash hog market may be slightly lower, but cutouts are still 
showing favorable demand. There has been some maintenance issues at pork plants 
this week, which is accredited to Monday's revised slaughter. The slightly 
weaker slaughter isn't expected to be great enough to backup hog supplies, but 
it could slow packer aggression in the cash market until plants are back to 
full capacity.

   The projected lean hog index for April 13 is up $0.32 at $102.69, and the 
actual index for April 12 is up $0.48 at $102.37. Hog prices are lower on the 
National Direct Morning Hog report, down $0.22 with a weighted average of 
$99.74, ranging from $97.00 to $103.00 on 6,365 head. Pork cutouts total 174.67 
loads with 159.94 loads of pork cuts and 14.73 loads of trim. Pork cutout 
values: up $0.76, $113.25.

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached

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