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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          07/29 12:03

   Cattle Futures Weak at Midday in Sluggish Trade 

   Lack of market direction is allowing livestock contracts to hold narrow to 
moderate price shifts at midday. Traders are focusing on end-of-the-week and 
month position squaring. Sluggish trade is expected to be seen through the end 
of the session. 

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst


   Livestock futures are thinly traded Friday morning with prices moving back 
and forth in light to moderate ranges during the morning. This type of market 
activity is likely to be seen through most of the complex as traders focus on 
the development of cash markets late in the day. Most end-of-month positioning 
has already been done in both cattle and hog futures, allowing prices to wander 
aimlessly through the rest of the session. Corn prices are higher in light 
trade. September corn futures are 0.5 cent higher. Stock markets are mixed in 
light trade. The Dow Jones is 28 points lower while Nasdaq is up 5 points.


   Live cattle futures have moved lower through the morning with early market 
support eroding based on lack of trader interest and no additional market 
direction developing in either the cash or beef market. There could be some 
additional market shifts seen through the end of the session as the lack of 
volume could spark volatility. Cash cattle trade remains silent, although 
active bids are redeveloping through the complex. Bids in the South are seen at 
$114 through the morning while bids of $183 to $185 per cwt are once again seen 
in the North on live basis cattle. Asking prices remain at $118 to $120 in the 
South and $190 and higher in the North. Beef cut-outs at midday are mixed, 
$0.15 higher (select) and down $0.85 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 73 
total loads reported (41 loads of choice cuts, 14 loads of select cuts, 4 loads 
of trimmings, 15 loads of ground beef). 


   Feeder cattle futures are mixed in narrow ranges Friday morning as initial 
buyer support steps away from the complex. Front-month futures continue to hold 
narrow gains of 35 cents per cwt, although very little widespread market 
activity is likely to develop through the session with traders having most of 
the needed work done before the end of the month. Trade may continue to develop 
within the current range, but very little direction is likely to be seen.  


   Lean hog futures continue to hold light to moderate gains at midday as 
end-of-the-week positioning is the main focus through the complex. August 
futures are holding 20-cent gains while the remainder of nearby contracts are 
holding 3- to 60cent gains, although trade remains extremely light and overall 
volume is sluggish. It is uncertain just how much of this stability will spill 
over to Monday's market when traders return in force with a new month on the 
calendar while fundamentals remain soft. Cash prices are lower on the National 
Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price fell $1.43 per cwt 
to $65.19 per cwt with the range from $62.00 to $66.50 per cwt on 1,939 head 
reported sold. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the Iowa 
Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The National Pork Plant Report 
reported 120 loads selling with prices falling $1.32 per cwt. Lean hog index 
for 7/27 is at $74.47, down 0.42 with a projected two-day index of $73.73 down 

   Rick Kment can be reached at 


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