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DTN Midday Livestock Comments          12/22 12:10

   Cattle Trade Holding Gains                   

   Firm gains are holding in the live cattle futures market. This support is 
helping to draw light additional buying to the sluggish trade during the 
holiday week.  

By Rick Kment
DTN Livestock Analyst


   Gains in the cattle complex are being offset by moderate to strong losses in 
lean hog trade. Light volume is holding through most of the morning and 
expected to remain sluggish through the rest of the week. Corn prices are 
higher in light trade. March corn futures are 2 cents per bushel higher. Stock 
markets are higher in light trade. The Dow Jones is 108 points higher while 
Nasdaq is up 9 points.


   Livestock futures are being led by gains in the live cattle market. Moderate 
nearby gains are seen as traders try to focus on further support later in the 
week. Cash cattle activity remains undeveloped as packers and feedlot managers 
are distributing Showlists. In general the Showlists are larger than last week, 
although asking prices are expected to be seen around $162 and higher in the 
South and $255 and higher in the North. It is uncertain if business will be 
able to get done before the Christmas break, but both sides would like to see 
that accomplished. Beef cut-outs at midday are higher, $0.49 higher (select) 
and up $0.66 per cwt (choice) with light movement of 89 total loads reported 
(50 loads of choice cuts, 19 loads of select cuts, 11 loads of trimmings, nine 
loads of ground beef).


   Light support is holding across the feeder cattle market although initial 
gains have eased some near midday. The focus on trade through the holidays is 
being offset by continued short covering after last week. 


   Losses in the lean hog futures market have expanded through the morning as 
nearby contracts holding triple digit pressure following additional softness in 
cash markets and the lack of underlying support in pork values. Cash prices are 
lower on the National Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average 
price fell $1.72 per cwt to $74.72 per cwt with the range from $74.25 to $76.50 
per cwt on 3,319 head reported sold. Cash prices are lower on the Iowa 
Minnesota Direct morning cash hog report. The weighted average price fell $2.85 
per cwt to $74.53 per cwt with the range from $74.25 to $75.00 per cwt on 201 
head reported sold. The National Pork Plant Report is reported 208 loads 
selling as prices added $0.34 per cwt. Lean hog index for 12/18 is at $83.89 
down 1.36, with a projected two-day index of $82.54 down 1.36. 

   Rick Kment can be reached at 


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