Cattle markets were met with some pressure today and traders proceeded cautiously. The cash cattle market was quiet yet another day.
Live cattle contracts were down, with the February contract down 50 cents to $115.47 and the April contract down 7 cents to $122.45.
“Traders could be looking at the market and would like to see fundamental backing through either continued higher boxed beef prices, strong export demand or another week of high cash prices before they continue to support the nearby contracts,” ShayLe Stewart, DTN livestock analyst, commented in her midday comments.
Negotiated cash trade has yet to develop with only 572 head selling. There were not enough purchases for a market trend on live cattle, but dressed purchases sold for $178. On the formula side, a total of 12,500 head averaging 885 lbs. were priced at $180.55.
The Fed Cattle Exchange listed 1,362 head today during their weekly online sale. Of the total listed, 699 head sold at bids between $113.50-115. Texas sold 604 head at $113.75 and Oklahoma sold 95 head at $113.50.
“Feedlots know packers are going to be opposed to seeing the cash market trade higher again this week, but the fact remains they need cattle and the market is pushing for higher prices,” Stewart said.
Boxed beef prices were lower today for the first time in weeks, with the Choice cutout down $1.48 to $235.28 and the Select cutout down $1.65 to $223.39.
Slaughter for the day is projected at 119,000 head, on trend with last week but several thousand head below the same time last year.
Feeder cattle contracts were also at a loss today. The March contract was down 60 cents to $138.52 and the April contract was down 42 cents to $141.82. CME’s latest Feeder Cattle Index was reported up 4 cents to $136.44.
The March corn contract saw a slight gain today of 9 cents, bringing the contract to $5.52.
“The market still sits far enough away from resistance pressure that trading higher won’t be an issue once traders see enough fundamental backing and that feed concerns aren’t going to be any more elevated,” Stewart remarked.
Colorado: Winter Livestock in La Junta sold 2,433 head Tuesday. Compared to the last sale, feeder steers under 400 lbs. sold steady; 400-550 lbs. sold $3-4 higher; 550-700 lbs. sold steady to $2 higher; and over 700 lbs. sold $2-3 lower. Feeder heifers under 500 lbs. sold steady; five-weights sold steady to $3 higher; over 600 lbs. sold $1-2 lower. Benchmark steers averaging 716 lbs. sold between $132.50-140.
Nebraska: Imperial Auction Market in Imperial sold 2,175 head Tuesday. There was no comparison to last week, as there was no sale held due to poor weather conditions. Benchmark steers averaging 734 lbs. sold between $138.40-143. — Anna Miller, WLJ editor