After early follow-through support Tuesday, Cattle futures traders seemed content to hold their positions and wait for direction from the cash market.
Live Cattle futures closed narrowly mixed but mostly higher (35¢ lower to 30¢ higher).
Other than 35¢ lower at the front and 5¢ lower at the back, Feeder Cattle futures closed an average of 57¢ higher.
Wholesale beef values were lower on light demand and moderate offerings, according to the Agricultural Marketing Service.
Choice boxed beef cutout value was $1.06 lower Tuesday afternoon at $215.39/cwt. Select was $1.18 lower at $189.66.
Corn futures closed mostly unchanged to fractionally mixed.
Soybean futures closed mostly 1¢ lower to 1¢ higher.
Major U.S. financial indices closed lower on Tuesday amid chatter about the Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Trump, as well as weaker consumer confidence.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® decreased to 125.1 (1985=100) in September from 134.2 in August.
“Consumers were less positive in their assessment of current conditions and their expectations regarding the short-term outlook also weakened,” says Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The escalation in trade and tariff tensions in late August appears to have rattled consumers. However, this pattern of uncertainty and volatility has persisted for much of the year and it appears confidence is plateauing. While confidence could continue hovering around current levels for months to come, at some point this continued uncertainty will begin to diminish consumers’ confidence in the expansion.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 142 points lower. The S&P 500 closed 25 points lower. The NASDAQ was down 118 points.
If current high levels of beef cow and heifer slaughter continue, then analysts with the Livestock Marketing Information Center (LMIC) say the beef cow inventory at the beginning of next year could be lower than the previous year.
For January through August, LMIC pegs federally inspected heifer slaughter 7.0% higher than the same period a year earlier, with beef cow slaughter up 1.9%.
“The last week of August, heifer slaughter surged to over 200,000 head, the highest weekly figure since June 2011,” say LMIC analysts, in the most recent Livestock Monitor. “The last several weeks of actual heifer slaughter has been above a year ago by over 5% and jumped in the final week of August to 11%…The climb in heifer slaughter offers a few signposts. The first is that these are likely heifers that didn’t get bred. July’s cattle on feed report indicated that animals 900 lbs. and heavier jumped 11.5% higher than a year ago. The U.S. does not break down each weight group by heifers and steers, but the large volume in the slaughter mix, coupled with higher heavier placement weights, could imply that some of those heavier cattle were female replacements that remain open.”