Prospects for continued short-term weakness seemingly weighed upon CME live cattle futures Thursday, with traders apparently expecting flat early-week cash activity and the Wednesday Chicago breakdown to drag country prices lower later today and/or tomorrow. It would be easy to assume futures are headed lower, since the nearby contracts fell below their closely-watched 40-day moving averages yesterday, but they appear to be trying to hold above the confluence of their 50 and 100 moving averages, so a bearish follow-through is not guaranteed. February cattle finished unchanged at 131.55 cents/pound Thursday afternoon, while April dipped 0.27 cents to 135.10.
Although anecdotal cash market reports implied country hog prices were slipping again Thursday morning, CME lean hog futures traded in a mixed fashion. This very likely reflects some ideas that their Wednesday breakdown was overdone, but technicians could also argue that it represents a reaction to their relative chart positions. That is, the nearby February future remains well above its December lows, whereas the April and June contracts have fallen to their lowest levels since October. Thus, they seem more vulnerable to sustained short-term weakness, especially since the industry is now looking for larger spring-summer hog supplies than was the case prior to the December Hogs & pigs report. February hogs settled 0.40 cents higher, at 84.60 cents/pound Thursday, while its June counterpart rose 0.35 cents gain to 96.55.