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DTN Early Word Opening Livestock       12/17 06:03
   Lean Hog Futures Likely to Open Week Moderately Defensive

   Hog contracts should open Monday moderately lower, initially checked by an
assessment of large ready numbers and the uncertain adequacy of late-year pork
demand. On the other hand, look for the cattle complex to slowly strike out
with mixed prices as traders assess the potential of late-month supply and
demand realities.

By John Harrington
DTN Analyst



Cattle: Steady         Futures: Mixed       Live Equiv: $139.75  - .04*
Hogs:   Steady-$1 LR   Futures: 50-100 LR   Lean Equiv: $ 76.49 - 1.49**

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

GENERAL COMMENTS:

   Typically, activity in cattle country will be limited to the pre-holiday
assessment of ready fed steer and heifer supplies. The late Friday cash trade
looked light to moderate. Live sales in the South were mostly steady at $119.
Dressed deals in parts of the North were marked at $188, roughly $1 higher than
last week's weighted average basis Nebraska. Look for the new offering to be
about steady. The bigger question may involve the exact hunger of the packers
as they anticipate the disrupted holiday slaughter schedules ahead. Positively,
processing margins remain very attractive. At any rate, bids, asking prices and
trigger-pulling are likely to stay pretty foggy until at least midweek. Live
and feeder futures seem staged to open the week in slow gear and with mixed
prices.
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