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DTN Early Word Opening Livestock       01/17 06:22
   Market Stability Sought Before Long Weekend

   Following strong pressure through the last couple of days, traders are
searching for market stability Friday morning as they prepare for a three-day
weekend. The ability to regain limited to moderate market support through the
session would go a long way in rekindling buyer interest early next week.

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst

Cattle: Steady to Lower  Futures: Mixed  Live Equiv $142.97 +0.59*
Hogs:   Steady           Futures: Mixed  Lean Equiv $ 80.40 +0.80**

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


   Light-to-moderate cash cattle trade developed during the day Thursday as
both sides appear to be trying to wrap up as much business ahead of the
widespread winter storm system moving through cattle country Friday. This is
likely to impact overall movement of cattle through the end of the week as well
as the ability to sell additional cattle before the long weekend. Cattle sold
generally steady to $1 per cwt lower Thursday and will likely set the tone for
any remaining cattle on showlists that need to be sold before the end of the
week. Prices in the South were seen at $123 to $124 per cwt, mostly $124, and
steady with last week. Northern dressed cattle held a full range of $197 to
$200, with most selling at $199 per cwt. This is $1 per cwt lower than last
week and will likely limit the upside potential for any additional selling
before the end of the week. Futures trade is expected mixed but generally weak
early Friday morning. Although active pressure has developed during the trading
week, prices are still above initial support levels, leaving markets hovering
in a generally sideways trading range for now. An effort to cover short
positions ahead of the weekend is likely to bring about limited market gains
Friday. Futures markets will remain closed Monday in observance of Martin
Luther King Jr., creating some underlying uncertainty with a three-day weekend
many times leaving the market generally unsettled. Friday slaughter runs are
expected near 119,000 head.
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