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DTN Early Word Opening Livestock       02/24 06:35
   Limited Trade Direction Expected Early Monday

   Traders are heading back to work, with the potential of adding stability
back into the market following last week's turn lower in live cattle trade.
Lighter-than-expected cattle placements in the Cattle on Feed report will
create limited optimism concerning long-term supplies.

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst

Cattle: Steady   Futures: Mixed   Live Equiv $137.28 +0.07*
Hogs:   Higher   Futures: Mixed   Lean Equiv $ 69.95 +0.59**

*  based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue
** based on formula estimating lean hog equivalent of gross packer revenue


   Initial trade is expected to remain sluggish through most cattle markets
with cash market interest on the back burner once again with bids and asking
prices not expected until near midweek. Showlist distribution and inventory
taking is likely to be the main focus Monday morning with feeders attempting to
maintain the momentum of last week's higher prices in live cattle trade.
Expected larger supply levels through much of the spring and summer months is
creating some additional caution with packers attempting to curb cash spending
levels due to weaker margins and the lack of significant price improvements in
beef values the last couple of weeks. Asking prices are expected to remain
elevated when cattle are priced in the next couple of days, but the gap between
asking prices and initial bids is likely to remain wide, with potential active
trade not seen until the last half of the week. Futures are expected mixed
following the moderate-to-strong pressure last week in spot April live cattle
trade. April live cattle futures fell $2.08 per cwt from the previous Friday,
taking out most of the early February rally. Although April futures are still
holding above support levels, and February lows at $117.17 per cwt, the concern
that follow-through pressure early in the week could further weaken the entire
complex. A move below support levels through the end of the month would likely
stimulate additional active liquidation despite the direction of short-term
fundamentals. Lighter-than-expected placements during the month of January
remain the bright spot of the market, indicating that tighter supplies of
feeder cattle to place into feedlots remain the main focus, helping to build
long-term support back into the overly sold cattle complex. Monday slaughter is
expected near 121,000 head.
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