John Harrington, DTN Market Analyst
GENERAL COMMENTS: The cash cattle trade was generally quiet with just a few steady dressed deals reported in parts of the North (i.e., $240). Scattered live business (not enough for a test) was also reported in parts of Kansas, $2 lower than last week. Asking prices may have softened some along with the live pit but still remained stout (i.e., around $152-$154 in the South and $245-plus in the North). According to the closing report, the Iowa hog base compared with the Prior Day's closing weighted average is $0.24 higher ($98.50 to $106.00, weighted average $103.28). Corn futures settled 1-3 cents lower, pressured by profit taking and commercial selling. U.S. stocks were little moved on Wednesday as investors tracked developments in Ukraine and disregarded U.S. economic reports (i.e., slowness in the service sector; ADP data suggesting fewer jobs added to the private sector in February) as impacted by the weather. The Dow closed 35 points lower with the Nasdaq up 6.
LIVE CATTLE: Futures closed off 35 to 195. Live contracts aggressively reversed from Tuesday's big rally, pressured by profit taking and commercial selling. New buying interest was generated near the lows of the session, enabling Jun-Dec to finished 100 points above the lows of the day. Beef cut-outs: sharply higher (choice, $234.51, up $2.75; select, $231.93, up $2.19) with moderate demand and light offerings (69 loads of choice cuts, 29 loads of select, 6 loads of trimmings, 35 loads of ground beef).
THURSDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to $2 higher. Short-bought packers should begin to show more buying interest Thursday, but feedlot attitudes and expectation could be shaped by how the board performs.
FEEDER CATTLE: Futures closed mostly 25 to 67 lower. Feeders closed moderately lower, limited by spillover selling from the live pit. CME cash feeder index: 03/04: 172.21, up $0.23.