Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 95¢ higher Thursday, strengthened by lower Corn futures.
Grain futures softened with likely profit taking. Corn futures closed mostly 4¢ to 8¢ lower. Soybean futures closed mostly 16¢ to 25¢ lower.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 19¢ higher, except for an average of 15¢ lower in the front three contracts.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade was mostly inactive on light demand through Thursday afternoon, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
So far this week, live prices are steady to $1 higher in the Southern Plains at $142/cwt., generally steady to $1 lower in Nebraska at $145-$148 and $2 lower in the western Corn Belt at $146-$148. Dressed prices in Nebraska are $1-$2 lower at $232-$233. Dressed prices in the western Corn Belt last week were $234.
Choice Boxed beef cutout value was 71¢ higher Thursday afternoon at $263.54/cwt. Select was 8¢ lower at $237.54/cwt.
Major U.S. financial indices closed higher Thursday. Support included fewer weekly initial unemployment insurance claims than expected, as well as a slight improvement to previous-quarter GDP.
Initial unemployment insurance claims were 2,000 less week to week at 243,000 for the week ending Aug. 20, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
As for domestic GDP, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis revised its second quarter estimate to a decline of 0.6%, versus a decline of 0.9% in the initial estimate.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 322 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 58 points higher. The NASDAQ was up 207 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures on the CME closed $1.98 to $2.37 lower through the front six contracts.
There were 34.9 million beef cows in the U.S. and Canada July 1, according to the semiannual United States and Canadian Cattle report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). That was 812,000 head fewer (-2.3%) than a year earlier. The beef cow inventory was 750,000 head fewer (-2.4%) in the U.S. at 30.3 million head and 62,500 head fewer (-1.6%) in Canada at 3.7 million head.
Beef heifers retained for replacement in Canada of 622,100 head were 49,500 fewer (-7.4%) less than a year earlier. In the U.S., there were 150,000 head fewer (-3.5%) fewer beef replacements year over year at 4.1 million head.
Total cattle inventory in Canada of 12.3 million head was 355,000 head fewer (-2.8%) than a year earlier. Total U.S. inventory of 98.8 million head was 2.0 million head fewer (-2.0%). The combined total cattle inventory in the U.S. and Canada was 111.1 million head, which was 2.3 million head less (-2.1%) year over year.