U.S. lean hogs closed mixed Friday, with front-month April pressured by rolling out long positions and lower pork prices while most other months rallied on expectations of strong pork exports.
April, the front month and current most-actively traded hog contract at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, slipped 0.32 cent, or 0.4%, to close at 88.47 cents a pound. For the week, April declined 1.9%.
June climbed 0.37 cent, or 0.4%, to close at $1.0105 a pound, its highest settlement price of the week. Short-position profit taking along with the rolling of long positions moved over from April helped push June up as well. For the week, the market rallied from its lowest level since Jan. 28 hit Wednesday to retrace all but 0.40 cent of the slide that occurred the first three days.
"The front month backed off today, pressured by the weak pork cutout, but overall the market is being held up by expectations of continued strength in pork exports," said Jason Roose, analyst with U.S. Commodities. The market's rally in the summer months was still reflecting the proposed agreement announced Thursday between the U.S. and Mexico on the trucking dispute, he said.
Cash hog prices were expected to trade mostly flat to possibly weak in a few locations to end the week. Supplies of slaughter-ready animals and demand for them appear to be fairly well balanced so the market is expected to be nearly flat, according to livestock dealers and market managers. The terminal markets traded flat to $1 per hundred pounds higher Friday.
Analysts and dealers said the weather may be an issue for far northwestern areas of the corn belt early next week. The National Weather Service says heavy snowfall is possible for parts of Nebraska and the Dakotas. If heavy snowfall should occur, there could be some transportation problems for moving livestock to processing plants in the region and the meat back out. It bears watching, a dealer said. Packers may want to move up some of their delivery schedules early next week to have more animals on hand at the plants just in case.