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DTN Early Word Livestock Comments      03/20 06:10
   Early Trade May Exhibit Uncertainty

   Cattle futures were mixed at the close Friday as traders positioned ahead of
the Cattle on Feed report. Hogs closed mostly lower after rebounding
significantly off the lows earlier in the trading session.

Robin Schmahl
DTN Contributing Analyst

   Cattle: Steady         Futures: Mixed     Live Equiv:   $210.59 -$0.15*

   Hogs: Lower            Futures: Lower     Lean Equiv:    $88.23 -$3.50**

   *Based on formula estimating live cattle equivalent of gross packer revenue.
(The Live Cattle Equiv. Index has been updated to depict recent changes in live
cattle weights and grading percentages.)

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


   Live cattle had lower cash already factored in, leaving traders positioning
ahead of the Cattle on Feed report. The report was expected to be bullish as
all categories were expected to be significantly below a year ago. Yet traders
were not anxious to buy ahead of the report, even though futures declined over
the past two weeks. The weakness of futures and the supportive report will make
for some interesting trading Monday. On-feed numbers on March 1 were 96% of a
year ago. Placements in February were 93% and marketings were 95% of a year
ago. These are bullish numbers in comparison to a year ago but are somewhat
neutral compared the trader estimates. Lower numbers have been part of the
market for quite some time. Traders generally react to what the actual numbers
are compared to the estimates. All categories were below trade estimates with
on feed and marketings a bit negative while placements a bit positive. Boxed
beef prices were mixed Friday with choice down $0.60 with select up $0.68.
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