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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          03/20 11:53

   Sluggish Trade Keeps Prices Mixed  

   Limited activity is developing cattle and hog trade Tuesday morning. Light 
to moderate support trickling into front month futures is being offset by 
follow-through pressure in the back end of the complex. This will likely keep 
markets unsettled through the rest of the trading session. 

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst


   Nearby livestock futures are mixed midday Tuesday with light to moderate 
buyer support stepping into front-month futures. The overall lack of trade 
volume in the complex continues to bring increased weakness to deferred 
contracts. This pressure is expected to carry through the end of the session 
Tuesday. Corn prices are higher in light trade. May corn futures are 3/4 cent 
higher Tuesday. Stock markets are higher in light trade. The Dow Jones is 147 
points higher while Nasdaq is up 23 points.


   Live cattle futures have been contained to a narrow trading range in nearby 
contracts. Prices are hovering from 30 cents lower to 22 cents higher as the 
buyer support is seen in front-month April contracts. The aggressive premium in 
April contracts to other summer contracts continues to widen, with April 
futures trading at a $13 per cwt premium over the August contract. Concern as 
to how the recent pressure in the market will continue to draw prices lower 
over the near future is causing some additional uneasiness through all trade, 
limiting the ability and desire for buyers to move back into the complex. Cash 
cattle interest is developing in all areas with bids seen at $125 to $126 live 
basis and $204 dressed basis. Asking prices are seen at $128 to $129 live and 
$208 and higher dressed. Given the gap between bids and asking prices and lack 
of movement in futures trade, it is likely that cash trade will be delayed 
until Wednesday or later. Boxed Beef cut-outs at midday are lower, $0.49 lower 
(select) and down $0.03 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 66 total loads 
reported (42 loads of choice cuts, 15 loads of select cuts, no loads of 
trimmings, 9 loads of ground beef). 


   Mixed trade is holding midday Tuesday as buyers attempting to slowly but 
firmly step into the complex. The aggressive turn lower Monday has continued to 
add market weakness to the complex, although traders seem to be focusing on the 
inability to push nearby contracts lower during morning trade. Further 
long-term pressure is seen, as deferred contracts are holding 30 to 80 cent 
losses. This lack of direction in the complex continues to bring some 
uncertainty if prices will be able to rebound through the next couple of weeks. 


   Mixed trade is seen at midday following limited trade activity during the 
entire Tuesday session. April futures are posting light gains with prices 17 
cents per cwt higher, while the rest of the complex is holding steady to 
moderate losses due to recent market pressure still having a firm hold on the 
entire complex. The inability to bring active buyer support back to the market 
following Monday's triple-digit losses is creating some underlying concern that 
follow-through pressure is likely over the next few days. Cash prices are lower 
on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price is 
down $0.38 at $56.03 per cwt with the range from $51.00 to $57.00 on 5,358 head 
reported sold. Cash prices are unreported due to confidentiality on the 
Iowa/Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The National Pork Plant Report 
posted 204 loads selling with carcass values gaining $0.97 per cwt. Lean hog 
index for 3/15 is at $65.52, down 0.41 with a projected two-day index of 
$64.97, down 0.55.

   Rick Kment can be reached at rick.kment@dtn.com 


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