Lean hogs were mixed Thursday, as a minor rebound was limited by demand worries and pressure from other markets.
Live hogs for June settled down 0.32 cents, or 0.4%, at 91.32 cents per pound on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The July contract ended slightly higher up 0.07 cents, or 0.1%, at 91.62 cents per pound.
The market could be due for a rebound after recent losses, some analysts said. But seasonally the market often struggles between now and Memorial Day, in expectations that pork demand will dip after the holiday.
Cash bids for hogs were steady to as much as $1 per hundred pounds higher as packers looked ahead to next week. Prices are likely to strengthen as slaughter rates increase ahead of a slowdown in operations during the Memorial Day holiday. That slowdown is likely to pressure cash prices late next week into the following week due to a holiday-shortened schedule.
Terminal markets were seen trading steady with top prices at $63 to $65 per hundred pounds on a live basis. Volumes were light as producers who grow their own feed were busy planting their fields and didn't have time to market hogs.
The USDA reported wholesale pork prices Wednesday were up 57 cents to $97.59 per hundred pounds.
The latest Dow Jones Newswires pork packer margin index was plus $6.24 a head, compared with plus $4.62 a head the previous day.