MORNING LIVESTOCK COMMENTS
John Harrignton, DTN Livestock Analyst
GENERAL COMMENTS: Except for a small handful of bids in the South, cattle country was extremely quiet Wednesday. Asking prices remained firm at $168-$170 in the South and $268-plus in the North. According to the closing report, the Iowa hog base closed $0.27 lower compared with the Prior Day settlement ($77.00-$85.50, weighted average $84.59). Corn futures settled 1-2 cents lower, pressured somewhat by spillover selling from the bean pit. U.S. stocks closed sharply lower on Wednesday as the price of crude fell to a new five-year low and OPEC cut its demand outlook for next year. The Dow closed 268 points lower with the Nasdaq off 82.
LIVE CATTLE: Futures closed mixed, up 30 to off 72. Though most live contracts settled in the red once again, the market as a whole finished much better than it started. Prices fell hard in the first hour or so, pretty much canceling Tuesday's rally. Yet short-covering interest was once again reignited near 100-day averages, allowing beef cut-outs: mixed (choice, $249.95, off $0.56; select, $236.37, up $0.27) with light to moderate demand and moderate to heavy offerings (115 loads of choice cuts, 48 loads of select, 27 loads of trimmings, 31 loads of ground beef).
THURSDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to $2 lower. Packer inquiry could start to take place Thursday, but don't be surprised if meaningful business is postponed until Friday.
FEEDER CATTLE: Futures closed off 10 to 117. Feeder settlement represented another case of "it could have been worse." Most contracts opened sharply lower and triple-digit losses pretty much dominated the headlines until the last hour of business. But late-session short covering lifted many issues more than 200 points off session lows. 12/08 cash index: $240.90, off $0.81.