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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          02/22 11:47

   Additional Losses Sweep Through Cattle Trade 

   Firm live cattle futures pressure has redeveloped through the complex. This 
is adding to the aggressive triple-digit losses seen midweek. Although there 
continues to be some uncertainty as to how much additional losses are expected, 
some buying interest has managed to step into deferred contracts. 

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst


   Follow-through pressure has continued to develop in cattle trade with the 
focus split between pressure developing in the cash cattle markets and 
additional weakness seen as prices reach technical tipping points. Hog trade is 
holding firm support Thursday. Corn prices are steady to higher in light trade. 
March corn futures are 3/4 cent higher Thursday. Stock markets are higher in 
light trade. The Dow Jones is 303 points higher while Nasdaq is up 45 points.


   Lower trade continues to be seen in most live cattle futures, although 
prices have been seen in a very wide range of movement through the morning. At 
midday prices range from $1.27 per cwt lower to 12 cents per cwt higher. The 
overall lack of buyer support seen in nearby contracts has caused widespread 
nearby market losses to redevelop. But deferred futures remain steady to 
slightly higher as the focus on lack of additional trade moving into the market 
may help to allow market firmness. There continues to be some additional longer 
term trade activity developing in the complex as traders are focusing on the 
ability to not only adjust prices, but stabilize open interest at the end of 
the week. Cash cattle trade is starting to slowly pick up in the North with 
dressed trade reported at $204 to $205 per cwt. These prices are steady to $1 
per cwt lower than last week, and may be the trend for the week even though 
more activity is expected to develop before the end of the week. Live bids are 
being restated at $127 to $128 live basis. Prices of $128 per cwt were able to 
establish light sales activity Wednesday, but the overall uncertainty of the 
market may continue to limit trade at these levels. But packers continue to 
need cattle to keep chain speed active through the end of the month. Asking 
prices remain firm at $130 live basis and $205 dressed. Boxed beef cut-outs at 
midday are higher, $0.22 higher (select) and up $0.04 per cwt (choice) with 
light movement of 57 total loads reported (42 loads of choice cuts, 9 loads of 
select cuts, no loads of trimmings, 6 loads of ground beef). 


   Firm pressure is seen through feeder cattle futures once again Thursday. 
Even though markets have been contained to moderate losses through the morning, 
there is still an uneasiness surrounding the entire complex as prices seem to 
have a hard time finding any sense of short-term support. Prices are holding 
within a range of 30 to 60 cents per cwt lower as the overall lack of direction 
in the market continues to focus on increased market pressure and the 
late-month pullback from previous highs.       


   Firm follow-through support has quickly moved into the lean hog complex 
Thursday with prices 80 cents to $1 per cwt higher during most of the morning 
trade. Price levels have changed very little during the morning after initial 
position taking developed and increased volume was seen through the complex. 
The inability to move prices higher is focusing on the overall lack of new 
interest seen in the market, although prices have broken through last week's 
highs in search of additional underlying support. Cash prices are lower on the 
National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is down 
$0.57 at $63.36 per cwt with the range from $57.00 to $63.50 on 2,370 head 
reported sold. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the 
Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The National Pork Plant Report 
posted 177 loads selling with carcass values adding $0.88 per cwt. Lean hog 
index for 2/20 is at $70.78, down 0.63 with a projected two-day index of 
$70.17, down 0.61. 

   Rick Kment can be reached at 


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