Fed cattle trade remains light and prices have yet to spark a noteworthy ralley. Kansas live cattle traded around $124/cwt, down $1/cwt from last week. Cash trade was too light in other states to call a trend. The 5-area price ended the week down $4/cwt for live and down $5/cwt for dressed. In Oklahoma City, feeder steers were $1-$2/cwt higher, feeder heifers were steady to $2/cwt higher, and calves were $4-$6/cwt lower. Feeder steers and heifers were mixed in Mississippi auctions this week. Slaughter cows were steady and bulls were $1-$3/cwt higher.
Live cattle futures were down this week with the lack of trade in the cash market and slipping beef prices pressuring futures prices. The was very little outside news to help provide direction. On the other hand, feeder futures were sharply higher on the week. The move, for the most part, was due to a big gain on Thursday as corn continues to struggle with slumping exports. On Friday, the Labor Department reported that 146,000 jobs were added, lowering the unemployment rate to 7.7%, from 7.9% last month. Economists had expected gains of 87,000 jobs, so the larger increase pushed most equity markets higher. The boost to the economy should be viewed as a positive for livestock markets.
Corn futures were lower this week as export sales continue to slip. The U.S. economy, while not perfect, is in better shape than many trading partners. This has led to a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes our products more expensive. As a result, export sales have fallen for the past few weeks.
Wholesale boxed beef prices were lower. Choice finished with a weekly average of $194.47/cwt, down $1.18. Select beef averaged $174.41/cwt for the week, down $0.32.