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Technical buying boosts cattle futures

Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle futures were sharply higher, with support from the higher midday boxed beef and technical buying. That helped offset bearish expectations for Friday’s Cattle on Feed report and the light, but sharply lower, direct business during the session. December live was $1.92 higher at $177.77 and February was up $1.90 at $178.77. January feeders were up $1.90 at $230.90 and March was $2.12 higher at $233.50.

Direct cash cattle markets were mostly quiet. Light trade was reported in eastern Nebraska at $282 on the dressed basis, $4 lower than last week’s weighted average, along with a few sales at $180 live. Otherwise, buyers and sellers remained in a standoff. Asking prices were $182 to $183 live and $285+ dressed, with bids at $177 live and $282 dressed. Some very light business was reported at $178 live in Iowa Tuesday, but not nearly enough to establish a trend. The show list is mixed, lower in Kansas and Texas, higher in Nebraska and Colorado. The USDA’s Cattle on Feed report is out Friday at 3 Eastern/2 Central.

Boxed beef closed mixed with solid movement. Choice was up $.66 at $296.33 and Select beef was down $.03 at $267.85 for a spread of $28.48. The estimated cattle slaughter of 125,000 head was up 1,000 on the week, but down 5,000 on the year.

At the OKC West Livestock Auction feeder cattle sale in Oklahoma, compared to the previous week, steers were $1 to $2 lower and heifers were mostly steady. Weaned steer calves weighing less than 550 pounds were $5 to $12 higher with all unweaned steers and all heifer calves $4 to $6 lower. The USDA says demand was moderate for feeders, good for weaned steers, and light for heifers and unweaned cattle. Receipts were above a week ago and a year ago. Half of the offering were steers and 56% of all feeders weighed more than 600 pounds. Medium and Large 1 feeder steers weighing 500 to 600 pounds brought $262.50 to $325 and 600-to-700-pound steers ranged from $241 to $280. Medium and Large 1 feeder heifers weighing 500 to 600 pounds sold at $220 to $268 with 600-to-700-pound heifers reported at $214 to $230.

Lean hog futures were pressured by follow through selling and the weak midday pork. Domestic demand continues to be inconsistent, maybe even a little disappointing, and while export demand has been solid, the trade’s uncertain that can be sustained. The USDA’s weekly sales numbers are out Thursday morning. December was $1.25 lower at $71.05 and February was down $1.02 at $74.90.

Cash hogs were steady to lower with light closing negotiated numbers at the major direct markets. Buyers were able to use the available ready numbers to press their leverage, with help from questions about sustained domestic and export demand. The average barrow and gilt weight in the Iowa/Southern Minnesota/South Dakota reporting area for the week ending November 11th was 287.3 pounds, up 0.6 on the week and 3.5 on the year.

National direct barrows and gilts closed $.73 lower with a base price range of $58 to $70 for a weighted average of $63.08. Iowa/Southern Minnesota was down $1.98 at $62.20, the Western Corn Belt was $1.77 lower at $61.98, and the Eastern Corn Belt had no recent comparison with a weighted average of $67.04. Butcher hogs at Dorchester, Wisconsin were steady at $60, while Red Oak, Iowa was steady to $1 lower at $46. Illinois direct sows were steady at $43 to $56 on moderate demand for moderate to heavy offerings. Barrows and gilts were steady at $40 to $50 with moderate demand and offerings. Boars ranged from $5 to $21.

Pork closed $.78 lower at $86.82. Loins were weak and bellies were down sharply, while butts, picnics, ribs, and hams were firm to up sharply. The estimated hog slaughter of 487,000 head was down 1,000 on the week and 3,000 on the year. Tuesday’s slaughter was revised to 473,000 head, 11,000 less than the initial projection.

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