Stocker and feeder markets continued to show strength in the fact of seasonal trends that suggest the market should move lower. The holiday-shortened week produced a light run of feeder cattle and calves that sold $2 to $5 per cwt. higher.
USDA Market News reporter Corbitt Wall said, "Northern buyers continue to drive up the market and tip their hand as to how far they will go when local cattle come up for sale."
Wall says several 800-pound, $200 per cwt. steers were evident at northern auctions last week, calling that price "the point at which even the guys that are hardest to trade with would call the trucks and open the gates."
Analysts reported good beef movement over the Memorial Day weekend, which translated into modestly higher boxed beef prices this week. Cash fed cattle were reported $1 per cwt. lower, and are $9 per cwt. off the spring highs.
Fed cattle traded in the South at $143 per cwt., $1 lower than last week. Sales in the North were primarily $143 to $145 per cwt. live and $230 to $232 per cwt. dressed. Choice boxed beef prices on Friday averaged $232.66, while Select prices were quoted at $221.90. The Choice/Select spread was $10.76.
Slaughter cows and bulls were mostly steady to weaker. USDA’s cutter cow carcass cut-out value Friday morning was $196.42, up $1.05 from last Friday.