Chicago Mercantile Exchange live cattle contracts settled 17 points higher to 35 lower. Traders backed away from session highs after some light to moderate noncommercial or investment buying in the complex in the morning trade. Modestly higher boxed beef values lent some support to the market, but uncertainty over cash cattle direction this week weighed on the market. October settled .20 lower at 123.07, and December was down .35 at 126.02.
Feeder cattle contracts settled mostly higher with the exception of spot October. The pressure in the grain markets helped draw light buyer interest into some contracts. The uncertainty of just how long the grain markets may move lower or what level that renewed aggressive buying will step into the corn market kept futures mixed in an extremely narrow trading range for much of the session. October settled .07 lower at 145.30, and November was up .30 at 146.50.
The cash cattle trade remained at a standstill on Wednesday with just a few bids reported in Kansas at 121.00. For the most part bids and asking prices are not well defined. While some packers do appear to be quite short bought it looks like significant cash trade will be delayed until Thursday or later. Some asking prices are around 125.00 to 126.00 in the South, and 195.00 plus in the North. The Wednesday kill was estimated at 121,000 head, 1,000 more than last week, down 11,000 head from a year ago.
Boxed beef cutout values were steady to firm on moderate demand and offerings. Choice beef was up .21 at 190.70, and select was .77 higher at 177.53.
Feeder cattle receipts at the Philip Livestock Auction at Philip, South Dakota totaled 6971 head. Compared to last week, feeder steers weighing less than 450 lbs. were steady to 4.00 higher, 450 to 650 lbs. steady to 2.00 higher. Feeder heifers less than 600 lbs. steady to 3.00 higher, over 600 lightly tested. There was very good demand through the entire sale for many long strings and packages of spring calves which sold in an active market. 1217 head of feeder steers averaging 521 lbs. traded at an average of 167.94 per hundredweight. 348 heifers weighing 522 lbs. brought 155.66 on an average.
Lean hog contracts settled 20 to 125 points lower with the exception of the front month ending higher. Aggressive commercial buying was seen in the front month following increased cash prices in the morning report. But early support that stepped into the rest of the contracts eroded with the remainder of the contracts posting losses. October settled .87 higher at 80.02, and December was down .97 at 75.87.
There was moderate market activity with light to moderate demand in the cash hog market on Wednesday. Barrows and gilts in the Iowa/Minnesota direct trade closed .86 higher at 79.88 weighted average on the carcass basis, the West was up .73 at 79.62 and the East was .33 higher at 74.45. Missouri direct base carcass meat price closed 1.00 to 2.00 higher from 70.00 to 73.00. Terminal hogs were steady on a live basis from 50.00 to 53.00.
Pork trading was slow, with light to moderate demand and offerings. Pork carcass cutout value was down .78 at 83.11.
Wednesday’s hog kill was estimated at 436,000 head, the same as last week, but 7,000 greater than a year ago. The Saturday slaughter is predicted to be around 150,000 head. Packer margins remain favorable and pork movement has been good.