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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          02/20 11:44

   Livestock Contracts Leisurely Trade Higher 

   Even though the livestock contracts are trading higher, the market has been 
rather uneventful at the week's start. 

ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst


   The livestock complex is starting this week out on a strong note as most of 
the contracts are trading higher. It's only the spot live cattle contract 
that's lower and that's likely because packers have ratcheted back processing 
speeds. March corn is up 2 1/2 cents per bushel and March soybean meal is up 
$3.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is down 137.34 points.


   Besides the spot February 2024 and April 2024 contracts, the live cattle 
market is trading higher like the lean hog and feeder cattle contracts. The 
nearby contracts could be worried about slaughter speeds as packers have 
reduced throughput as a way to hopefully keep the cash cattle market from 
advancing uncontrollably. February live cattle are down $0.57 at $184.20, April 
live cattle are down $0.37 at $187.17 and June live cattle are up $0.22 at 
$183.00. The cash cattle market hasn't seen any interest yet and it's likely 
trade could be delayed until after Wednesday. 

   Last week's negotiated cash cattle trade totaled 88,336 head. Of that 78% 
(68,700 head) were committed to the nearby delivery, while the remaining 22% 
(19,636 head) were committed to the deferred delivery.

   Boxed beef prices are mixed: choice down $0.21 ($296.88) and select up $2.76 
($290.16) with a movement of 61 loads (35.42 loads of choice, 6.55 loads of 
select, 7.62 loads of trim and 11.07 loads of ground beef).


   The feeder cattle complex is trading higher as the market continues to be 
encouraged by its strong fundamental position. With supplies of feeder cattle 
and calves incredibly low, 2024 has a bright outlook ahead as demand should 
keep prices record high. March feeders are up $0.10 at $251.12, April feeders 
are up $1.42 at $254.87 and May feeders are up$1.95 at $257.57.


   The lean hog market is keeping with its upward trend as the market 
comfortably pushes a moderate rally despite pork cutout values being lower and 
there being no cash hog market to talk about yet. April lean hogs are up $0.67 
at $85.90, June lean hogs are up $0.50 at $98.25 and July lean hogs are up 
$0.42 at $99.05. So long as midweek pork demand picks up, the market may be 
able to sustain these levels, but follow-through support will be essential.

   The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 2/19/2024 is up $1.05 at $76.80, and 
the actual index for 2/16/2024 is up $0.46 at $75.75. Hog prices are 
unavailable on the Daily Direct Morning Hog report because no hogs have traded 
yet. Yup, you read that correctly, this morning's report plainly displayed that 
zero hogs have traded in the cash market Tuesday morning. It makes it pretty 
hard to report on the market when there aren't hogs traded in the open cash 
market. We can see, however, that the market's five-day rolling average now 
sits at $68.22. Pork cutouts total 162.66 loads with 142.08 loads of pork cuts 
and 20.59 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.46, $92.32.

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached

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