Cattle Futures - Cattle Drops As Corn Rallies; Hogs Fall

US - Chicago Mercantile Exchange live and feeder cattle contracts settled lower Wednesday on profit-taking, advancing Chicago Board of Trade corn futures and anxiety regarding this week's cash trade. Market participants were also cautious ahead of the federal government's monthly cattle report on Friday at 3 p.m. EDT (1900 GMT).
calendar icon 19 April 2007
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CME lean hogs also closed lower while pork bellies ended narrowly mixed.

Live cattle sank on the open amid ideas that tightening calculated packer profit margins and bloated showlists would yield no better than steady cash returns this week. Isolated $95 per hundredweight bids were reported Wednesday against faint asking prices from $98 to $101.

Also, boxed beef's erosion from last week's 3 1/2-year highs kept prospective board buyers at bay. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's midday beef wire showed choice down $0.47 while select slipped only $0.08, which stirred floor talk that box's fall may be near an end.

The lack of concise fundamental and technical leadership was enough for market bulls to pull in their horns while bears savored the moment.

However, with USDA's cattle-on-feed data on the horizon, long and short position holders were reluctant to step boldly into the market.

Spreading was the most popular play of the session that included April/June and April/August bear and June/August and June/October bull positioning.

Another tranquil futures session is anticipated for Thursday when more bids and asking prices are expected to materialize. However, market watchers on and off the floor suspect that the bulk of this week's cash business will not take place until Friday.

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