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DTN Early Word Opening Livestock       02/21 06:28
   Traders Focus on Reports Early Friday

   The combination of the afternoon release of the Cattle on Feed report and
delayed weekly export sales reports Friday morning will likely gain the
attention of many traders, allowing for moderate end-of-week positioning
through the complex.

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst

Cattle: Steady with Thursday  Futures: Mixed  Live Equiv $137.21 -0.45*
Hogs:   Higher                Futures: Mixed  Lean Equiv $69.36 +0.43**

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


   The lion's share of cash cattle trade is expected to have wrapped up
Thursday following light to moderate trade seen over the past two days. The
majority of Southern trade took place on Wednesday, with a little clean-up
activity developing Thursday. On the other hand, trade across the North
developed during the day Thursday. Generally prices are steady to $1 per cwt
higher from last week's levels, but consistent with previous days' moves in
areas where trade took place both Wednesday and Thursday. Limited clean-up
activity may develop through the day Friday, but prices appear to be generally
set at $120 live basis and $190 dressed. Cash and futures trade will be be
closely focused on the afternoon cattle on feed report. At this point limited
excitement is expected in the afternoon report with pre-report estimates
expected slightly higher than year-ago levels, but not enough to gain
significant attention with placements pegged at 101.5% year ago levels,
Marketing at 101% and total cattle on feed expected at 102.3% levels. If report
numbers come close to these estimates, significant market movement is not
likely as traders have already factored much of this adjustment into the
market. Futures trade is mixed early Friday morning as the delayed weekly
export sales report will give a good indication of additional beef movement
through the middle of February. Although no significant surprises are expected
at this time, it is likely that the typical regular trading partners such as
Japan, Canada and Mexico will once again make up a large percentage of beef
exports. The strong pullback in futures trade Thursday will also bring about
mixed movement with some additional end-of-week uncertainty combined with light
to moderate end-of-week short covering through most cattle trade. Friday
slaughter is expected near 120,000 head.
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