Recent Cattle Market Moves Support Taking Action, Analyst Says
The cattle market has been entrenched in an uptrend since last October, accelerating upward in recent months.
Cash prices remain active and demand strong. The U.S. dollar is trending lower, and there is renewed optimism that export activity will stay strong. This is due, in part, to exports to China (something that has not occurred since 2003). At the same time, recent technical activity suggests futures may have topped.
Chart activity shows upward price acceleration and a key reversal. A bearish key reversal is when the market trades to a new high, exceeds the previous day’s trading range, and finishes below the previous day’s close. In other words, a wider trading range and a negative finish.
August live cattle futures recently posted a very prominent bearish key reversal. In addition, a double-top is also in place. A double-top is when a market establishes a contract high, corrects downward, rallies back to the previous high, and then fails.
August futures peaked at $127.50 on May 4, dropped to under $117.00 by late May, only to rally back to $127.65 on June 6, the day prices peaked and posted the bearish key reversal. Since then, August futures has dropped and is trading under $118.00.
It may be difficult to execute strategy with current future prices well below the current cash market. Current cash prices may be as much as $15.00 or $20.00 higher than deferred futures.
Keep in mind that futures contracts reflect future price expectations, and not today’s cash market. Price charts can often aid in the decision to move forward with strategy. The recent signals are really nothing more than the reflection of market participants anticipating future price expectations. Heed the chart warnings.
Two strategies come to mind: Sell futures and purchase a call option. Or, purchase a put, which provides a price-flooring mechanism and leaves the upside open for price appreciation. These two strategies accomplish the same basic task of shifting risk, should prices move lower.
While no strategy is perfect, doing nothing works extremely well as long as prices trend higher. However, when prices trend lower, doing nothing can be an extreme strategy that allows for the absolute worst outcome.
The key is a balanced approach, shifting risk with the right tools at the right time. Recent technical signals in the cattle market suggest it is time to take action.
If you have questions or comments, contact Top Farmer at 1-800-TOPFARM, ext. 129.
Futures trading is not for everyone. The risk of loss in trading is substantial. Therefore, carefully consider whether such trading is suitable for you in light of your financial condition. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.
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