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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          04/20 11:58

   Cattle Futures Struggle at Midday With Triple-Digit Losses

   Live and feeder cattle contracts are sharply lower near the noon hour, 
swamped by long liquidation and technical selling. On the other hand, lean hog 
futures are only moderately lower near midday, somewhat supported by ideas of 
wholesale pork benefiting from defensive beef buying.

By John Harrington
DTN Livestock Analyst


   Cattle buyers are collecting new showlists this morning but saying virtually 
nothing about short-term spending potential. The fed offering seems to be 
generally larger than last week, especially in Nebraska. A few asking prices 
have been thrown out around $163 in the South and $263-plus in the North. 
According to the midday report, the Iowa hog base is not quotable due to rules 
of confidentiality. The corn market is 1-2 cents lower near the top of the noon 
hour in slow and rather featureless trading. U.S. stocks are up more than 1% 
this morning amid an unexpected stimulus from China's central bank as investors 
kept eyeing corporate earnings. The Dow is 220 points higher at this time with 
the Nasdaq positive by 74.


   Futures are off 137 to 313. The live pit is getting hammered again today 
thanks to technical selling and long liquidation. The fact that the board seems 
to be ignoring the premium status of feedlot business suggests that many 
traders suspect that the spring top in cattle feeding country has come and 
gone. Beef cut-outs are higher at midday, up $0.92 (choice, $258.71) to $1.59 
(select, $252.56) with light box movement (43 loads of choice cuts, 10 loads of 
select cuts, zero loads of trimmings, 16 loads of ground beef).


   Futures are off 150 to 400. Feeders are imploding along with their live 
counterparts, oblivious to the towering reality of the cash index. Bears may be 
growling enough at this point to test chart support at 200. On an estimated run 
of 5,500 head (down from 8,024 last week and 6,069 in 2014), Oklahoma City is 
selling steers and heifers mostly steady to weak in a light test.  


   Futures are mostly 10 to 82 lower. Lean hog traders are watching the 
defensive action in the cattle complex with caution at midday. Here are signs 
that we are ready to step into more manageable fundamentals over the next 30-60 
days, both in terms of supply and demand. But such positive thoughts are 
talking a backseat today to the ugly fallout in the cattle pits. The carcass 
value is generally steady at midday with higher fresh cuts offsetting picnic 
and belly weakness. Pork cut-out: $68.09, up $0.10. CME cash lean 04/16: 
$63.73, up $0.75 (DTN Projected lean index for 04/17: $64.27, up $0.54).  

   John A. Harrington can be reached at 


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