Lean hog futures closed narrowly mixed but well up from the session's lows. Seasonally tighter supplies and stronger demand for grilling cuts throughout the spring and into early summer are expected to push up cash hog prices further to record highs soon. A string of new highs for prices could be set in the weeks to come, analysts predict.
April lean hogs closed down 0.05 cent at 93.55 cents a pound. June, the most-active contract, was down 0.32 cent, or 0.3%, at $1.0315 after recoding from down the 3.0-cent daily limit earlier in the session.
Soon after the opening of trading, long position holders began taking profits following the recent sharp runup. Many of these sales were associated with investors banking profits before the end of the month and quarter on Thursday. The activity as heaviest in June but losses spilled over into the other months as well, brokers said.
Later in the session, however, after the heavy selling had subsided, prices recovered most of the early losses as underlying support from the cash hog markets and gains in live cattle took over, analysts said.
In the cash markets, pork processors were paying mostly flat to higher prices for additional hogs to be delivered later this week and into next week. Hog weights declined modestly last week, an indication that producers may be more current, or up to date, on their marketings, analysts said. A gradual seasonal reduction in supplies is expected to extend into early summer, which could generate more active buying interest from processors for the hogs that are available.