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A Frog Walker....Redux

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Jerry Welch, Commodity Insite!
Call me at 406 -682 -5010
Ennis, Montana 59729

Follow me on twitter@commodityinsite

The volatility this week with grains and livestock and in particular feeder cattle has been surreal. The same can be said for precious metals and the Dow Jones. In fact, on Monday cattle, feeders and corn were limit down at the same time. I am not entire certain I ever saw such a day.

Everywhere I look I see a, frog walker. Allow me to explain that phrase from a column I penned long ago.


July 5, 2019

Frog Walker Time

One of my all-time favorite songs is a saddle song entitled, The Strawberry Roan composed by Curley Fletcher, an American composer of cowboy songs and cowboy poetry. The classic cowboy song, The Strawberry Roan was written in 1915. Curley passed away in 1954.

Over the years, I have referred to, Strawberry Roan often when markets become volatile, unpredictable and so difficult to trade that I dub them, frog walkers. Curley Fletcher dubbed that strawberry roan a, frog walker a, regular outlaw. The, worst bucker on the range. Strawberry could, turn on a nickel and give you some change. He would, hit on all fours and goes up on high leaving the rider, spinning up there in the sky.

A bucking horse hard to ride and stay with is a frog walker. A market hard to trade and stay with is a frog walker as well. Lately, frog walking markets are popping up all over the place. The orneriest markets at this time are corn, gold, hogs and bonds. Allow me to explain with the help of Curley Fletcher.

Corn: The most recent USDA report regarding planted corn acres was released about two weeks ago and it was shockingly bearish. It was bearish in face of what was the wettest and slowest planting season on record. The report data caused corn prices as well as soybean and wheat prices to make a, high dive. Trying to stay with corn or other grains on the long side of the ledger while the markets bucked so violently was nearly impossible.

Hogs: The USDA, a few trading sessions ago released a Pig Crop report that only comes out twice a year. The data showed that US hog producers continue to expand herds above expectations. According to the report, the US hog herd is now the largest since 1943. And when that news hit the wires, hog prices headed north, not south. Those old oinkers are not quite the orneriest market on the board but darn near!

Gold: According to the Federal Reserve, inflationary pressures remain nearly non-existent. Yet, gold prices this week ended at a new, 6 year high. History shows that gold is a perfect indicator for inflation. Or, political turmoil. Do investors and traders following the lead of gold? Or, do they following the observations of the Fed? Or, is the gold market simply ready to, turn on a nickel and give you some change.

Bonds: Yields on US Treasuries have been inverted for a full quarter. In the past, such a scenario was a perfect indicator an economic downturn was at hand. Consider: the yield curve inverted prior to each of the last seven recessions over the past 50 year without making a mistake. With bond prices now at a

2 year high, an inverted yield curve and gold prices at a 6 year high there is trouble ahead for something. Maybe several somethings. And historically, bonds are a, regular outlaw, difficult to ride and stay with.

Below are the final two verses to, Strawberry Roan. Read them and learn what a frog walker can do.

He's about the worst bucker I've seen on the range

He'll turn on a nickel and give you some change

He hits on all fours and goes up on high

Leaves me a spinnin' up there in the sky

I turns over twice and I comes back to earth

I lights in a cussin' the day of his birth

I know there are ponies that I cannot ride

There's some of them left, they haven't all died

I'll bet all my money, the man ain't alive

That'll stay with old strawberry

When he makes his high dive

My advice for investors and ag-producers is to pull your hat down snug and tighten that cinch. It is frog walker time!


This morning though the session is quite young, Dow fuures are 417 lower with bond futures up 1 full point and 27 ticks. Both are frog walkers again today.

Silver and gold that posted downside key reversals yesterday are up 18 cents and $11 respectively, shrugging off yesterdays weakness. Frog walkers.

Crude oil that rose $2.00 a barrel yesterday is down $1.70 today. A frog walker for sure!

Cattle and feeders are expected to open sharply lower today after being limit down Monday and Tuesday. And August feeders have dropped $12.68 from the high posted Friday to the low posted yesterday. The opening call today is 200 lower. Cattle and feeders are frog walkers!

Drop me a line at if you would like to take a look at my twice a day newsletter Commodity Insite. Or, call me at 406 682 5010. There is lots going on!

the time is 7:20 a.m.Chicago

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About the author

Jerry Welch has been in the futures industry since the late 1970's and is a true veteran of the markets. He has been quoted often in Wall Street Journal and is author of Commodity Insite, one of the longest commodity futures newspaper columns in history. His weekly column has been published each week since the mid 1980's and is one of the most recognized names in the world of commodities.

Mr. Welch is also known widely as a, "so so" flyfisherman.  

His column is published by the Illinois Agri News in La Salle, Illinois, Cattle Today, in Fayette, Alabama as well as Consensus, in Kansas City, Kansas.

He can be contacted at 406.682.5010 for a view of his, "twice a day" market column that includes price forecasts and trading suggestions.

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