Lean hog futures were lower, pressured by spillover from steep losses in live cattle.
May hogs hit a nearly two-week low and fell 1.40 cent, or 1.4%, to $1.0065 a pound. June, the most active contract, hit a five-week low and closed off 1.52 cents, or 1.5%, at 98.52 cents a pound.
Uncertainty about domestic demand, the economic recovery and the effect of high gasoline prices on consumers' ability to purchase meat at record high retail prices this summer also weighed on futures, analysts said.
High gasoline prices at around $4 a gallon in most places could make retailers cautious about the amount of meat they will buy for their weekly promotions, said Daniel Bluntzer, director of research with Frontier Risk Management.
The pork carcass composite price, or cutout value, has been holding up fairly well but it needs to move up more to sustain futures prices at over $100 per hundred pounds, said Steve Wagner, an analyst with Country Hedging. The record high was $96.74 set on Aug. 24, 2010.
What the pork market needs is an extended period of warmer temperatures and sunshine, said Dan Norcini, a private trader. The recent cool, wet weather across the northern tier of the country has put a crimp on grilling demand, he said.
Some traders were also concerned that squeezed processing margins could cause packers to bid more cautiously for hogs and possibly slaughter fewer animals than they would otherwise, potentially holding down cash prices. The latest Dow Jones Newswires packer margin index, for Friday, was at minus $0.18 per head.
The USDA's pork carcass composite value Friday was up $0.08 to $95.14. For the week, the cutout value fell $1.43, or 1.5%.
Cash hog prices Monday were reported mostly flat overall but with a few mixed bids seen as well depending upon individual processor's inventory positions for later in the week.
The terminal markets traded flat to $1 per hundred pounds higher with tops from $64 to $64.50 on a live basis.