John Harrington, DTN Market Analyst
GENERAL COMMENTS: The cash cattle trade was not tested today with bids and asking prices poorly defined. A few token bids of $129 were noted in parts of the South, but certainly attractive enough to generate selling interest. Asking prices appear to be around $134-plus in the South and $212-plus in the North. According to the closing report, the Iowa hog base compared with the Prior Day's closing weighted average is 1.82 lower ($78 to $80.00, weighted average $78.51). Corn futures closed higher Wednesday, up 3 3/4 in the December and up 5 1/4 in the March.
LIVE CATTLE: Futures closed higher, up 10 to 35. Live cattle futures bounced moderately higher following early-week selling. Today's trade was largely featureless as traders waited for more concrete news to develop regarding cash potential. Although last week's feedlot trade seemed to be promising, post-Thanksgiving beef demand has been disappointing. Beef cut-outs: modestly higher (choice, $203.30, up .30; select, $190.04, up $0.09), with moderate demand and light to moderate offerings (76 loads of choice cuts, 38 loads of select, 8 loads of trimmings, 33 loads of ground beef).
THURSDAY'S CASH CATTLE CALL: Steady to $1 higher. Preliminary bids should start to increase Thursday, but significant trade volume will probably be delayed until sometime Friday.
FEEDER CATTLE: Futures closed higher, up 2 to 20. Feeder cattle contracts settled modestly higher with only a few far deferreds months settling lower. Trade volume was very light with some questioning the validity of the recent surge in the cash index. Indeed, the new quote released this afternoon for December 3 indicated a sharp reversal in the index. CME cash feeder index: 12/03: 165.36, down 1.17.