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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          02/26 11:40

   Livestock Contracts are Unsupported, Trading Lower 

   It's been a depressing Friday for the livestock futures as the market can't 
seem to win traders' interest whatsoever in any of the livestock contracts. 

ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst


   Livestock futures continue to grind lower, showing no interest in trading 
higher as traders are sidelined, not wanting to support the contracts until 
more fundamental clarity arises. The cash cattle market is still painfully 
quiet with just a few bids of $114 offered in Kansas and Texas. May corn is 
down 4 1/2 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is down $3.10. The Dow Jones 
Industrial Average is down 137.51 points and NASDAQ is up 214.38 points.


   Continuing with the same depressed trade as Thursday, the live cattle 
futures are still trading lower and the cash cattle market has yet to attract 
any substantial interest. April live cattle are down $1.27 at $120.40, June 
live cattle are down $1.00 at $118.47 and August live cattle are down $1.10 at 
$117.05. Largely, traders are stepping back, not interested in supporting the 
futures even though this week's slaughter is expected to be the biggest of the 
year thus far, and boxed beef prices are higher. Bids of $114 have surfaced in 
Kansas and Texas but feedlots are bound and determined to get at least $115 to 
$116 in the South and $185 or more in the North. This week's trade could be 
light if business doesn't pick up before the day's end.

   The Fed Cattle Exchange Auction on Friday listed a total of 790 head (Texas 
662 head, Kansas 54 head, Oklahoma 74 head), of which none sold as they did not 
meet the reserve prices of $115. Opening prices were at $113.50, high bids 
ranged from $113.50 to $114.50.

   Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $0.85 ($241.24) and select up $0.99 
($229.78) with a movement of 31 loads (21.30 loads of choice, 2.71 loads of 
select, 4.82 loads of trim and 1.99 loads of ground beef).


   Following the last two days of noteworthy growth, feeder cattle futures are 
now back to trading lower as trader interest has grown null. March feeders are 
down $1.45 at $138.97, April feeders are down $2.05 at $143.02 and May feeders 
are down $1.67 at $145.55. Given the questions that still linger around the 
live cattle market, the feeder cattle contracts are on edge about the 
short-term. With cost of gains high and the cash cattle market having a hard 
time drawing any packer interest, the feeder cattle market sits skeptically, 
waiting to see where the market trends.


   The big question on everyone's mind is has the hog rally seen its peak? 
Futures are trading lower, but cash prices are still rallying. Wednesday 
afternoon pork cutouts closed lower, but Thursday afternoon cutouts closed 
higher yet again! Whatever the market is or isn't, it's hard to deny that in 
the last three days the market hasn't seen unified support throughout the 
futures, cash and pork cutout values like it did earlier in the week. Next 
week's trade could be pressured as there's been some pullback late this week. 
April lean hogs are down $1.37 at $89.92, June lean hogs are down $0.85 at 
$94.90 and July lean hogs are down $0.77 at $94.70.

   The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 2/25/2021 is up $0.75 at $80.70, and 
the actual index for 2/24/2021 is up $0.82 at $79.95. Hog prices are higher on 
the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $2.15 with a weighted average of 
$77.28, ranging from $70.00 to $82.00 on 4,368 head and a five-day rolling 
average of $73.32. Pork cutouts total 139.63 loads with 120.98 loads of pork 
cuts and 18.66 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $0.52, $94.61.

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached

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