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DTN Early Word Livestock Comments      04/12 06:15
   Cash Cattle Expected to Trade Lower Friday

   After spending some time in negative territory, cattle futures were able to
gain some traction and move higher Thursday. Technical support held for the
time being. Hogs struggled to close higher after the huge price decline
Wednesday. The packers were not aggressive as most of their needs had been

Robin Schmahl
DTN Contributing Analyst

   Cattle: Lower          Futures: Mixed   Live Equiv:   $221.68 -$0.11*

   Hogs: Lower           Futures: Mixed   Lean Equiv:   $107.26 +$1.04**

   *Based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue.
(The Live Cattle Equiv. Index has been updated to depict recent changes in live
cattle weights and grading percentages.)

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


   Cattle futures were impressive Thursday. Not from the standpoint of a large
price increase, but from the ability to close higher despite the headwinds of
lower cash and more avian flu discovered in dairy cattle. Some initial light
cash trade developed in the South at $2.00 lower than last week. This may have
set the tone for cash trade Friday as packers do not intend to be aggressive
buyers. Packer margins are below a year ago and substantially below the
three-year average. Further cases of avian flu were discovered in North
Carolina and South Dakota but did not adversely impact the market this time as
it still has not been found in beef cattle. Weekly export sales were negative
at 13,6700 metric tons (mt), down 27% from the previous week. Boxed beef was
mixed with choice up $0.14 and select down $0.87.
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