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DTN Early Word Opening Livestock       03/27 06:27
   Weaker Livestock Markets Expected Early Friday

   Limit losses in live cattle and lean hog futures trade Thursday has sparked
questions about further technical and fundamental support in the complex. This
is likely to lead to further end-of-the-week pressure early Friday morning.

By Rick Kment
DTN Analyst

Cattle: Steady with Midweek Trade   Futures: Lower   Live Equiv $165.08 -0.88*
Hogs:   Steady                      Futures: Lower   Lean Equiv $82.46 -1.42**

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


   Cash cattle sales are expected to have wrapped up for the most part,
although there could be a few deals trickling into the market Friday as feeders
try to take advantage of the market gains from earlier in the week. It will be
interesting to see if packers will even float bids Friday, or wait to see what
the next few market days have in store before they are back in the market.
Given the early-week bullishness in all segments of the market, the focus on
sustaining this momentum will be the main priority next week. Futures trade is
expected to remain weak with live cattle futures expected to be the main focus
early Friday morning following sharp triple-digit losses that flooded the
market Thursday. With lightly traded April contracts posting limit losses
Thursday afternoon, expanded trading limits are available for all live cattle
futures. Feeder cattle futures still have normal trading limits of $4.50 per
cwt as nearby contracts did not close limit lower Thursday. But the underlying
pressure through the end of the week could spark some significant concerns
through all cattle trade as traders look for renewed support in beef values
going into the weekend. More focus is being placed on the stability of retail
demand in the near future that most of the panic buying by consumers and
hoarding seems to have slowed in most areas. This is still expected to keep
packers actively killing cattle, but the focus on upcoming demand over the next
two to four weeks is likely to have a significant role in cattle futures prices
in the near future. Friday slaughter is expected at 120,000 head.
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