CME Livestock Outlook: Uneven Hogs, Cattle Sentiments

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CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Traders squaring positions before the weekend generated mixed Chicago Mercantile Exchange hogs calls for Friday.

Market participants are also expected to weigh front-months' bullish price discounts against wholesale pork price's $0.49 setback Thursday that snapped consecutive days of gains.

Steady cash hog prices are anticipated as processors who have supplies well in hand resist spending more for hogs. Other packers, however, will table steady cash bids to maintain a consistent flow of hogs into Saturday's slaughter.

Cleanup Goldman roll business is likely Friday even though Thursday was the last official day for the May roll period. The process involves funds shifting some of their June long positions into July and August in association with the Standard & Poor's Goldman Sachs Commodity Index.

Spot-May's movement will be dictated by ideas about where the contract will settle after it expires at 1 p.m. EDT Friday.

Technically, June is above its 84.33-cents 40-day moving average support level. The 85.52 20-day and 85.55 10-day moving averages blocks June's potential upward progress.

July's 84.68 40-day moving serves as an area of support. The contract's 85.84 20-day and 85.96 10-day moving averages are resistance obstacles.

CME pork bellies are seen higher on follow through from Thursday's sharp futures gains. Also, contracts are still bullishly undervalued compared with fresh bellies that were last priced at $120 per hundredweight.

No belly deliveries were posted by CME Thursday against May futures ahead of its May 25th expiration date.

Cattle Complex


CME live cattle's open could vary given pre-weekend position squaring and conflicting views about front-months' relationship with current cash cattle prices.

Cash-basis cattle this week moved at mostly $100 per hundredweight versus generally $98 to $100 last week.

Bullish floor traders cite June and August price discounts to this week's cash trade and profitable packer margins as positive market factors. Bearish players, however, anticipate a seasonal rise in cattle numbers soon and are put off by stalled wholesale beef movement.

Operating margin index for beef packers for Thursday was plus $43.60 per head, compared with plus $55.30 Wednesday, as calculated by HedgersEdge.com.

The USDA's Thursday evening boxed beef price data, which reflects wholesale beef values, showed choice cuts fell $1.26 per hundredweight, and select items dropped $0.79.

More rolling by live cattle spot-June longs into nearby-August is expected well into next week because of June's significant open interest.

Charts show June between 95.26-cents 20-day moving average support and 95.90 10-day moving average resistance boundaries.

August is over the 94.03 20-day moving average area of support and is poised to challenge its 94.73 10-day moving average resistance level.

CME feeder cattle unevenness is likely if futures' modest advances Thursday is met with profit-taking. May's price discount to CME's feeder cattle index might entice prospective bulls, while back-months are at bearish price premiums to that index.

May's 112.28-cents 40-day moving average is a resistance point.

August hovers over the 114.50 40-day moving average support floor. The contract's 115.78 10-day and 115.83 20-day moving averages are chart resistance thresholds.

(To access the daily livestock market data recap report, keyword search for "Livestock Market Fundamental Data Recap.")


-By Theopolis Waters; Dow Jones Newswires; 312-347-4965; theopolis.waters@dowjones.com




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