Cattle futures mostly gained Wednesday, supported by recently stronger wholesale beef prices and expectations from some that cash prices should strengthen this week.
Negotiated cash fed cattle trade ranged from mostly inactive on light demand to a standstill through Wednesday afternoon, with too few transactions to trend, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Last week, live prices were $156/cwt. in the Southern Plains, $156-$157 in Nebraska and $157 in the western Corn Belt. Dressed prices were $248-$249.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 63¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $279.41/cwt. Select was $1.64 higher at $247.28/cwt.
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 57¢ higher (5¢ to 92¢ higher), except for an average of 6¢ lower in two contracts toward the front.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 57¢ higher (5¢ to 92¢ higher).
That was with stronger feed prices.
Corn and Soybean futures gained Wednesday with support from the drier forecast in Argentina and notions that exports could get a boost from China’s easing Covid restrictions.
Corn futures closed 4¢ to 8¢ higher through Jly ‘24 and then mostly fractionally higher to 1¢ higher.
Soybean futures closed 15¢ to 25¢ higher through Jan ‘24 and then mostly 7¢ to 8¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices stumbled lower Wednesday with more indicators of economic slowdown.
Pending home sales slid for the sixth consecutive month in November, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). All four U.S. regions recorded month-over-month decreases, and all four regions saw year-over-year declines in transactions.
“Pending home sales recorded the second-lowest monthly reading in 20 years as interest rates, which climbed at one of the fastest paces on record this year, drastically cut into the number of contract signings to buy a home,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. “Falling home sales and construction have hurt broader economic activity.”
The Pending Home Sales Index — a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings — fell 4.0% to 73.9 in November. Year-over-year, pending transactions dropped by 37.8%. An index of 100 is equal to the level of contract activity in 2001.
“The residential investment component of GDP has fallen for six straight quarters,” Yun explains. “There are approximately two months of lag time between mortgage rates and home sales. With mortgage rates falling throughout December, home-buying activity should inevitably rebound in the coming months and help economic growth.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 365 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 46 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 139 points.
West Texas Intermediate Crude Oil futures (CME) closed 45¢ to 57¢ lower through the front six contracts.
Food sales at convenience stores increased during the last three months, ending in November, according to the NPD Group (NPD).
Year over year, during the period, visits to convenience stores for foodservice items, like beverages and prepared foods, were up 2%. Consumer spending on foodservice menu items at convenience stores was up 8%. Units and dollars of foodservice products shipped from broadline foodservice distributors to convenience stores increased by 3% and 13%, respectively.
“Convenience store foodservice is benefitting by more people commuting to and from school and work and generally out and about more,” says David Portalatin, NPD Food Industry Advisor. “The growth in convenience store foodservice visits is a positive sign for the U.S. foodservice industry overall.”
The breakfast and morning snack periods, or morning meal daypart, which accounted for almost 25% of foodservice visits to convenience stores, grew traffic by 3% and was a key contributor to total visit growth in the most recent quarter ending in November. The evening snack period, which increased by 4%, was also vital to foodservice traffic growth at convenience stores during the period. Traffic at lunch, typically most popular for convenience store foodservice, was up 2% compared to a year ago. At dinner, foodservice visits also increased by 2% year-over-year. Traffic at the afternoon snack daypart was flat compared to a year ago.
Beverage-only orders represent over half of convenience store foodservice visits and drive growth for the channel overall. However, the popularity of burgers and breakfast sandwiches ordered at convenience stores throughout the day has also spurred growth. Burgers are a popular convenience store foodservice item for lunch, dinner, and the afternoon snack period. Burger servings increased by 12% in the quarter ending November compared to a year ago. Servings of different varieties of prepared breakfast sandwiches from convenience stores increased by 8% over a year ago.