CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Short-covering and light fund buying helped pulled up Chicago Mercantile Exchange hogs Wednesday following Tuesday's futures stumble.

June and July lean hogs benefited from spreading into those contracts out of August that sometimes was overtaken by traders who conducted the Goldman roll.

The roll consists of funds shifting some of their June long positions into July and August in association with the Standard & Poor's Goldman Sachs Commodity Index. Although Thursday will be the last official day for the current roll period, the process should persist well into next week because of June's sizable open interest.

Spreads involve trading two or more contracts at the same time while taking advantage of the price differences between them.

Market bulls were also encouraged by wholesale pork prices that Tuesday strung together two consecutive days of gains, which improved pork packer margins. Strong terminal market cash hog quotes provided initial futures backing, although direct market hog values later weakened.

Also, speculative bulls were enamored of June and July price discounts compared to CME's lean hog index. Advances carried both months beyond 10- and 20-day moving average resistance obstacles and into the path of waiting fund buyers.

Spot-May ended 0.52 cent higher, or 0.6%, at 88.45 cents a pound. Most-actively traded June finished up 0.32 cent, or 0.4%, at 85.65 cents. July closed 0.6 cent higher, or 0.7%, at 86.07 cents.

Lightly traded CME pork bellies closed mixed on spreading out of July into May. Speculative buyers bought August because of its significant price discount compared with other months.

Spot-May closed unchanged at 102 cents a pound. Most-actively traded July finished 1.4 cents lower, or 1.4%, at 100.1 cents. August ended up 0.45 cent, or 0.5%, at 97 cents.

Cattle Complex

Live cattle at the exchange finished lower on profit-taking and the roll by longs out of spot-June into the nearby-August contract.

Besides front-month Goldman roll pressure, spreaders sold December and bought August.

Despite June and August live cattle discounts to this week's positive cash cattle trade, some in the pit were uneasy about the prospect of a seasonal pickup in cattle supplies.

Processors in Kansas and Texas paid $100 per hundredweight for cash-basis cattle, compared with the bulk of cattle last week that sold for $99 to $100. Feeders are asking upward of $102 for remaining cattle given profitable beef packer margins and reduced numbers of cattle for sale in parts of the Plains.

Operating margin index for beef packers for Tuesday was plus $57.45 a head, compared with plus $59.65 Monday, as calculated by HedgersEdge.com.

June and August earlier touched off preplaced orders to sell after both months drifted below Tuesday's lows. Front contracts, however, held above their respective 10-day moving average support levels prior to the market's settlement.

Spot-June live cattle closed 1.1 cents lower, or 1.1%, at 95.70 cents a pound. Nearby-August finished 0.67 cent lower, or 0.7%, at 94.7 cents.

Pit-traded CME feeder cattle landed in bearish territory sparked by selling in the live cattle pit. Back-month feeders were at bearish price premiums compared with the exchange's feeder cattle index.

Also, May and August triggered sell orders, especially after May fell through its 40-day moving average support floor.

Spot-May closed 0.6 cent lower, or 0.5%, at 111.5 cents. Most-actively traded August settled 0.82 cent lower, or 0.7%, at 114.77 cents.


-By Theopolis Waters, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-347-4965; theopolis.waters@dowjones.com