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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          04/15 11:42

   Livestock Contracts Tumble Lower

   Thursday hasn't granted livestock futures any kind gestures as the entire 
complex bows lower heading into the afternoon. 

ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst


   It's been a downward spiral for the livestock futures Thursday as the cattle 
contracts wait patiently to see how the cash cattle market is going to pan out 
and the lean hog market is feeling pressured from the expiring April contract 
and the weaker export report. June live cattle are down $1.08 at $118.975, May 
feeder cattle are down $1.65 at $143.775, June lean hogs are down $3.00 at 
$104.7, May corn is down 5 1/4 cents per bushel and May soybean meal is up 
$3.40. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 276.65 points and NASDAQ is up 
143.97 points.


   As feedlots look at a sixth consecutive day in a row of weaker trade, they 
look at the cash cattle market and know if there's one place the market is 
going to shoot them some positivity this week it's going to be in the cash 
market. That's not to say moving the needle in the cash cattle market is going 
to be easy as packers would obviously like to see prices trade at steady 
levels. But if feedlots can rally together and demand higher prices amid the 
higher boxed beef values, there's a good chance at least $1.00 if not $2.00 
higher can be paid. April live cattle are down $1.15 at $120.95, June live 
cattle are down $1.05 at $119.02 and August live cattle are down $1.02 at 
$119.20. There's been some light trade in Texas at $120 and in Kansas a few 
head have sold at $121, which is $0.50 higher than last week. Bids of $122 have 
been placed on cattle in Iowa and bids of $196 are being offered in Nebraska.

   Beef net sales of 15,700 metric tons (mt) reported for 2021 were down 14% 
from the previous week and 23% from the prior 4-week average. The three largest 
buyers were Japan (6,300 mt), China (3,300 mt) and South Korea (2,900 mt).

   Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $3.92 ($276.83) and select up $1.56 
($268.87) with a movement of 54 loads (23.79 loads of choice, 5.46 loads of 
select, 4.77 loads of trim and 19.86 loads of ground beef).


   As the corn market takes a breather from rallying extensively the last two 
days, the feeder cattle contracts sit anxiously waiting to see what the cash 
cattle market does. If cash cattle can sell higher, then there may be enough 
supportive momentum in the complex to rally the feeder cattle higher. But at 
the noon hour the cash cattle market has only been meekly tested and traders 
want to see more confidence in the markets before they dive into higher prices. 
April feeders are down $0.95 at $140.20, May feeders are down $1.42 at $144.00 
and August feeders are down $1.35 at $155.47.


   Lean hog futures are feeling a little bent out of shape after Thursday's 
weaker export report, but the market still has strong support from both cash 
prices and the pork cutouts. The choppy volatile trade is nerve-wracking to 
watch, but given the high price point at which the complex is trading and given 
just how tight supplies are, we need to expect some volatility. June lean hogs 
are down $3.00 at $104.70, July lean hogs are down $3.00 at $102.37 and August 
lean hogs are down $2.75 at $98.05. Watching slaughter speeds will be important 
as we move into the afternoon.

   Pork net sales of 17,200 mt for 2021 -- a marketing year low -- were down 
48% from the previous week and 60% from the prior 4-week average. The three 
largest buyers were Mexico (7,800 mt), Japan (4,300 mt) and South Korea (1,300 

   The projected CME Lean Hog Index for 4/14/2021 is up $0.34 at $103.03, and 
the actual index for 4/13/2021 is up $0.32 at $102.69. Hog prices are higher on 
the National Direct Morning Hog Report, up $1.42 with a weighted average of 
$101.16, ranging from $99.96 to $105.00 on 3,730 head and a five-day rolling 
average of $99.79. Pork cutouts total 162.49 loads with 138.75 loads of pork 
cuts and 23.74 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $4.83, $114.92.

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached

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