Negotiated cash fed cattle trade picked up in the North Wednesday with moderate demand and slow to moderate trade. Live prices were steady to $2 lower in Nebraska at $109-$111/cwt., and steady to $1 higher in the western Corn Belt at $109-$110. Dressed trade was steady in Nebraska at $174; steady to $1 lower in the western Corn Belt at $173-$174.
There were 1,103 head offered in the weekly Fed Cattle Exchange Auction, but no takers.
Cattle futures softened Wednesday, led by Feeder Cattle.
Other than 27¢ higher in spot Oct, Live Cattle futures closed an average of 31¢ lower.
Other than 5¢ higher in spot Oct, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 67¢ lower.
Wholesale beef values were steady on Choice and lower on Select with light to moderate demand and offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was 5¢ lower Wednesday afternoon at $204.56/cwt. Select was $1.36 lower at $191.19.
Major U.S. financial indices wobbled lower Wednesday, amid mixed quarterly earnings reports and continued angst over higher interest rates.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 91 points lower. The S&P 500 closed fractionally lower. The NASDAQ was down 2 points.
Analysts with USDA’s Economic Research Service raised expected feeder cattle prices (OKC, 750-800 lbs.) to $150-$156/cwt. for the fourth quarter, based on expectations of continued strong demand.
“Price information from Oklahoma National Stockyards for feeder steers weighing 750-800 lbs. suggests that there is competition for ownership of these animals,” ERS analysts say, in the latest monthly Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook. “Coupled with counter-seasonal gains in prices for lighter-weight feeder cattle, this may suggest that winter forage conditions have improved over last year.”
ERS estimates feeder prices at $141-$149 in the first quarter next year, $143-$153 in the second quarter and $145-$155 in the third quarter.
Likewise, ERS raised the expected fourth-quarter price for fed steers (5-area Direct) to $110-$114 on a projected slower marketing pace.
“The slower pace is likely in part a reflection of lighter placement weights during the spring months, but may also reflect a desire by feedlots to capture premiums implied by October and December futures,” ERS analysts explain. “Although fed steer prices in the 5-area marketing region for September averaged above year-earlier levels, expected increased supplies of cattle available for slaughter in fourth-quarter 2018 are likely to pressure prices relative to last year.”