Cattle futures continued to soften Friday, pressured in part by a lack of positive news, deterioration in Lean Hog futures and perhaps positioning ahead of the monthly Cattle on Feed report (see below).
Live Cattle futures closed an average of 47¢ lower.
Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 66¢ lower.
Wholesale beef values were higher on moderate to good demand and light to moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.11 higher Friday afternoon at $207.93/cwt. Select was $1.89 higher at $194.24.
Major U.S. financial indices closed narrowly mixed Friday. Strong quarterly earnings reports provided support, while worries about global trade and higher interest rates continued to pressure.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 64 points higher. The S&P 500 closed 1 point lower. The NASDAQ was down 36 points.
Both bears and bulls can likely find support in Friday’s monthly Cattle on Feed report, with fewer placements and slightly fewer cattle on feed than expected, but also fewer marketings.
Cattle on feed Oct. 1 were the most since the data series began in 1996 at 11.40 million head, which was 5.43% (+587,000 head) more than last year. Most analysts expected to see about 6% more. That’s for feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 head or more.
While most analysts ahead of the report expected September placements to be about even with last year, the 2.05 million head placed were 4.60% less (-99,000 head) than a year earlier.
“High placements have been seen despite profitability concerns,” explained analysts with Allendale, Inc., ahead of Friday’s report. “Kansas State estimates a $110 loss per head on finished cattle in September. First-half 2019 marketings are slated for $122-$125 breakevens. August placements determine a part of the March through early August beef supply.”
In terms of weights, 36.81% went on feed weighing 699 lbs. or less; 43.69% weighing 700-899 lbs.; 19.5% weighing 900 lbs. or more. That continues the trend of recent months.
September marketings of 1.72 million head were 3.59% less (-64,000 head) than the previous year. Expectations ahead of the report were for marketings to be about even.
Of the 12 major cattle feeding states listed in the report, South Dakota was the only one with fewer cattle on feeder Oct. 1, year over year. There were 2.30% more steers on feed than a year earlier and 11.03% more heifers.