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DTN Closing Livestock Comment 12/12 15:53

   Livestock Contracts Close Mixed Thursday

   Cattle contracts close slightly better Thursday, lean hog contracts ended 
the day on a positive note. 

By ShayLe Stewart
DTN Livestock Analyst



   Thursday came and went, leaving the complex undecided on how fat cattle 
should trade and leaving the board largely mixed. Hog prices are lower on the 
National Direct Afternoon Hog Report, down $0.11 with a weighted average of 
$47.94. March corn is up 6 1/2 cents per bushel and January soybean meal is 
down $0.80. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 201.63 points and NASDAQ is 
up 49.65 points.


   Live cattle contracts closed slightly better than they opened (mostly 
lower), but a handful of deferred contracts closed slightly higher. December 
live cattle closed $0.15 lower at $120.42, February live cattle closed $0.22 
lower at $125.10 and April live cattle closed $0.32 higher at $126.20. A light 
to moderate offering of cash cattle traded Thursday afternoon around the noon 
hour; pens sold for $119 in the South, which is considered fully steady with 
last week's weighted average. Other feeders continue to hold out for earlier 
asking prices; $121 to $122 in the South and $190 to $192 in the North. 

   Closing boxed beef prices closed lower: choice down $3.00 ($215.65) and 
select down $1.16 ($202.56) with a total movement of 207 loads (133.07 loads of 
choice, 22.71 loads of select, 7.86 loads of trim and 43.75 loads of ground 
beef). Thursday's slaughter is estimated at 121,000 head - 1,000 head more than 
a week ago and steady with a year ago. 

   FRIDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to $1.00 higher. Feeders hate it when it 
looks like a waiting game will rally for higher prices and a few folks sell-out 
for steady prices. Friday will be a coin toss: if the board grows stronger it's 
very likely that somewhere between steady and asking prices is where cash 
prices could fall. If the board continues to fall weaker, pulling full asking 
prices will be tough given that packers have gotten to buy some cattle at 


   The chime of the noon bell allowed feeder cattle contracts to find some mild 
support in April through September 2020 contracts. As for the rest of the 
feeder cattle complex, mild losses captured the day. January feeder cattle sold 
$0.22 lower at $142.55, March feeders sold $0.22 lower at $143.45 and April 
feeders sold a tick higher at $145.57, up just $0.10 to close the day. 

   On an estimated run of 3,600 head, Bassett, Nebraska, sold steers weighing 
600 to 650 pounds compared to last week $3.00 to $8.00 lower, heifers weighing 
555 pounds sold $5.00 lower. Sale barns start to look towards the end of the 
year and most only note one more sale before the New Year. The CME feeder 
cattle index 12/11/19: not available at this time.  


   Lean hog contracts were able to keep most of day's rally, closing modestly 
higher in nearby contracts and only lower in the furthest deferred contract. 
December lean hogs closed $0.30 higher at $61.00, February lean hogs closed 
$0.92 higher at $68.65 and April lean hogs closed $0.37 higher at $74.62. Pork 
cutouts totaled 284.82 loads with 248.45 loads of pork cuts and 36.38 loads of 
trim. Pork cutout values: down $1.53 at $81.66. 

   Thursday's hog slaughter is estimated at 495,000 head, 1,000 head less than 
a week ago and 17,000 head more than a year ago. Wednesday's hog slaughter was 
revised to 489,000 head. The CME lean hog index 12/10/19: down $0.01 at $59.46. 

   FRIDAY'S CASH HOG CALL: Steady. Though the board read green Thursday, seeing 
a loss in cutout values makes it tough for packers to pay more for hogs.   

   ShayLe Stewart can be reached at  


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