Cattle futures rose moderately in Thursday morning electronic trading, the accelerated upward after the CME pit session commenced. There was no news obviously powering the move, so we are inclined to credit talk of rising cash and/or wholesale prices later today. Given its history of posting a substantial seasonal rally through the first quarter, especially in years when snow and cold dominate the Southern Plains, the rise is not particularly shocking. Still, such strength certainly suggests bulls will continue to dominate the cattle market for the foreseeable future. February cattle had jumped 1.42 cents to 132.70cents/pound in late-morning trading, while the April future had advanced 1.32 cents to 137.50 cents/pound.
The latest hog and pork news has not been particularly supportive of the short-term outlook. For example, pork cutout essentially gave back its Monday gain Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, the Iowa-Southern Minnesota hog market declined modestly yesterday afternoon and was called about 1.25 cents lower this morning. Nevertheless, CME swine futures their counterparts in the cattle pit substantially higher after pit trading began. Market participants may simply think the ongoing cattle surge will lift all boats, especially with the hog and pork complex also exhibiting an historical tendency to rally during the first six weeks of the year. February hogs surged 1.07 cents to 87.25 cents/pound around mid-session and the June contract had jumped 1.12 cents to 99.37.