The cattle markets traded solidly higher for a second session yesterday with both the fats and feeders briefly trading limit higher midday. Feb futures settled $5.42 above their contract lows established Tuesday morning, despite a confused cash cattle trade and without any new direction from the still-weak wholesale beef markets. This week’s showlist count is unexpectedly smaller than last week’s, though packers are buying for a holiday-shortened slaughter week next week as well. Weather forecasts now show more winter weather en route for NE and IA through tomorrow with feedyard clients from CO to IA already noting slimy pen conditions following the recent moisture. It’s likely carcass weights have already seasonally peaked. Official pre-report estimates for tomorrow’s COF report show the industry looking for the Nov 1 on feed count to be up 2.2% vs last year, Oct placements down 4.1%, and Oct marketings down 3.8%, all very much similar to the numbers seen over the past two months. Nov feeder cattle futures expire today.
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