CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--U.S. livestock futures were mixed Thursday, as lean hogs shrugged off a broad-based selloff and set another record high on tight near-term supplies and export demand.
Lean hogs for August delivery ended up 0.9 cent to $1.0555 a pound, climbing as high as $1.06, a new record. October lean hogs were up 0.5 cent to 92.75 cents per pound, while the December contract closed lower.
Most other assets in commodities and equities declined Thursday, a day in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 500 points. Investors fled riskier assets amid worries about the global economy and the dollar climbed, which is negative for commodities.
But front-month lean hogs hit an all-time record for the third straight day, as cash prices stayed firm. The gains followed a seventh-straight day of record-high wholesale pork prices on Wednesday.
Hot weather across the U.S. has limited weight gain in hogs, which has limited the supply available to packers, analysts said.
"I think the weights being down so much are what's really underpinning the hogs," said Mike Zuzolo, president of Global Commodity Analytics and Consulting.
The lower weights are exacerbated by strong export demand to Asia, which is supporting pork prices even as domestic demand is unexceptional in a sluggish economy.
U.S. forecasts are calling for more moderate temperatures in many areas, and Zuzolo said that once the heat abates, cash prices may start to soften as packers will look to get ahead of an expected slip in retail demand, he said.
"At some point we probably face some push back from the retail sector," Zuzolo said.
Cash hog prices were reported steady to higher on continued tight supplies of slaughter-ready animals. Demand for the animals remains strong due in part to growth in export sales. Lighter average weights following the recent heat wave have slowed the flow of hogs to processors, and some producers are delaying selling a few days to give the hogs more time to grow.
The terminal markets traded steady to $1 a pound higher.
The USDA's pork carcass composite value, a measure of wholesale prices, on Wednesday climbed $2.08 to $108.31 a hundred pounds. That was the seventh consecutive day of new record highs for wholesale pork prices.