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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          04/09 11:43

   Traders Seem to Sideline Themselves and Look Forward to Next Week

   With corn prices taking a considerable jump through Thursday's trade and the 
bulk of the cash cattle market's trade done, both the live cattle and feeder 
cattle contracts are trading lower into Friday afternoon.

ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst


   The vigorous pace that the livestock contracts have sought after this week 
has subsided Friday, and it appears traders are waiting until next week to 
continue to support the marketplace. The cattle contracts are struggling to 
find any support whatsoever, but the lean hog contracts are still rallying 
modestly into Friday afternoon. May corn is up 5 1/2 cents per bushel, and May 
soybean meal is down $3.10. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 81.91 
points, and the NASDAQ is up 7.82 points.


   The cash cattle market has been mostly quiet thus far, but one packer has 
offered $196 in Nebraska, which is $6 higher than a week ago. The rally the 
cash cattle market has been able to accomplish this week is nothing short of 
spectacular. The cattle market has been one of the very last markets to recover 
from COVID-19's disruption, and feedlots are again starting to get paid what 
their cattle are worth. Boxed beef prices also are continuing to rally, which 
favors feedlots' position to ask more for their cattle, week in and week out. 
With Memorial Day the next major holiday, packers will be looking to push 
product out to retailers, as this year's grilling season is expected to draw in 
a large magnitude of customers. Southern live deals have ranged from $118 to 
$122, which is roughly $4 higher than last week, and Northern dressed cattle 
have traded from $192 to $196 but mostly from $195 to $196, which is $5 to $6 
stronger. April live cattle are up $0.02 at $124.22, June live cattle are down 
$1.67 at $123.40 and August live cattle are down $1.35 at $122.67.

   Boxed beef prices are higher: choice up $1.33 ($271.83) and select up $0.72 
($264.55) with a movement of 50 loads (31.06 loads of choice, 6.87 loads of 
select, 7.79 loads of trim and 4.31 loads of ground beef).


   Feeder cattle futures are still anxious to trade higher and are being 
positively charged by the action developing throughout the cash cattle market. 
But the healthy rally in Thursday morning's corn market has sent the feeder 
contracts slightly lower. April feeders are down $0.30 at $147.32, May feeders 
are down $0.80 at $151.87 and August feeders are down $0.05 at $161.82. With 
cost of gains being a concern throughout the entire nation, feedlots are having 
to get creative with their feed rations and are looking for alternatives to use 
besides having to feed corn.


   The feeder cattle complex is having a rough Friday, as the market got rocked 
back on its heels by Thursday's ginormous corn rally, and then again Friday, 
the corn market is continuing to rally modestly. With cost of gains sucking 
profitability out feedlots' bottom lines quicker than most would like to admit, 
the feeder cattle complex needs to see sharply higher cash cattle prices in 
order to curb some of the pain from higher inputs. April feeders are down $2.12 
at $145, May feeders are down $2.10 at $149.50, and August feeders are down 
$1.55 at $160.05.


   As traders start moving away from the soon-expiring April contract, the spot 
contract is trading slightly lower, while the rest of the complex is continuing 
to trade higher. April lean hogs are down $0.02 at $103.45, June lean hogs are 
up $0.45 at $109.15 and July lean hogs are up $0.20 at $107. The underlying 
tone of the market is still fully supportive as phenomenal demand and 
tightening supplies entice higher prices. With grilling season on the forefront 
of everyone's minds, demand should continue to be excellent in the next month 
to come.

   The projected lean hog index for 4/7/2021 is up $0.47 at $100.94, and the 
actual index for 4/6/2021 is up $0.13 at $100.47. Hog prices are lower on the 
National Direct Morning Hog Report, down $0.17 with a weighted average of 
$98.65, ranging from $94 to $103 on 4,111 head and a five-day rolling average 
of $98.44. Pork cutouts total 230.62 loads with 202.45 loads of pork cuts and 
28.17 loads of trim. Pork cutout values: up $4.74, $115.74.

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached

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