Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were lower on profit taking and consumer demand uncertainties. According to Dow Jones Newswires, jobless claims were up Thursday, leading to concerns about retailers passing along higher beef prices to consumers. Lean hogs were mostly lower as traders get ready for May’s expiration next week. The May lean hog contract was the only month to finish in the black.
Direct cash cattle business was moderate, mainly in the North after Wednesday’s activity on the live basis in the South. In Nebraska, trade was at $129 Live and $204 to $205 Dressed, with Iowa at $129 Live and $204 Dressed, and much lighter activity in Kansas at $204.The estimated cattle slaughter of 123,000 head was up 3,000 on the week and unchanged on the year. Boxed beef was mixed on light to moderate demand and offerings with Choice up $.24 at $191.72 and Select down $.36 at $188.25.
Direct cash hog markets were firm to higher. The Eastern Cornbelt was up $.99 with the weighted average at $76.02, the Western Belt was $.16 higher at $78.80, and Iowa/Southern Minnesota up $.22 at $79.07. Butcher hogs at the terminal markets were steady to $1 higher at $49.50 to $54. The Missouri Direct base carcass meat price was $2 to $3 at $71 to $75. The estimated hog slaughter of 426,000 head was unchanged on the week and up 11,000 on the year. The pork carcass cutout value was up $.33 $77.28 in very slow trade with light to moderate demand and offerings.