Cattle futures traded just a couple minutes on Friday morning before moving limit higher, following through on Thursday afternoon’s rally, confirmation of declining carcass weights, a cash cattle trade that moved from $117 up to $118, and perhaps a delayed reaction to the COOL repeal. Most active Feb futures were synthetically trading another ~$2 higher by the close. Friday afternoon’s COF report will help the bulls’ cause as well this morning, with both the Dec 1 on feed and Nov placement totals coming in below the low end of the expected range, while marketings were on the high end of range. Placements came in at just 89% (record small), even with one more business day this year vs last. This is the fifth consecutive month of below year ago placements despite a larger feeder cattle supply. These animals will make their way into feedyards eventually of course, but the deferred placement pattern is confirming recent trends for much narrow feeder-fat spreads and weak deferred live cattle futures. Futures will start sharply higher again this morning, with expanded daily price limits in place.
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