Cash fed cattle turned sharply higher in the $119 to $120 range on Wednesday ahead of Thanksgiving.
The cash trade began in Kansas and Texas at $118 early Wednesday, but quickly climbed to $119 later in the day, $2 to $3 higher than last week. In the north live prices traded at $117 to $119, with tops of $120 in Nebraska, $3 to $4 higher than last week. Dressed cattle traded at $187 to $188 per cwt., $2 to $4 higher.
The winter storm crossing the Midwest disrupted some slaughter facilities. The weather and strong beef demand helped push both cash and futures prices higher. Given the surge in cash prices this week, analysts say it could signal a short-term top is nearing after weeks of strength in the cash market.
On Friday, December live cattle futures closed down 22.5 cents at $121.20 and February live cattle declined 50 cents $126.20 and posted a contract high. January feeder cattle futures fell $1.05 to $142.275. February live cattle still gained $2.35 this week while January feeders rising $1.575. Live cattle bulls have positive fundamentals and technical on their side, which should continue to support higher prices in the near term.
Choice beef cutout prices declined 12 cents on Friday to $232.12, while Select lost $0.30 to $210.34. The Choice/Select spread was $21.78.
AMS reported a light test of feeder cattle and calves at auction this week, with not enough reporting for an adequate market test.