KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--U.S. hog futures on Tuesday closed lower in most contracts on their premiums to current cash prices and traders' concerns that the wholesale pork market may soften in the near term, which could put a cap on cash hog prices as well.

December hogs, the front month contract, at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange hit a six-session low and closed at its lowest level since Nov. 18. December closed down 1.00 cent a pound, or 1.4%, at 69.02 cents. February, the most-actively traded contract, ended the session with a 0.45 cent loss, or 0.6%, and closed at 75.77 cents. February hit a 1 1/2-week low and closed at its lowest level since Nov. 17.

"Some of the price pressure facing lean hog futures today is a melding of the minds, as the premium in the futures markets are viewed as too extreme given current cash levels," said Bob Wilson, analyst with HedgersEdge.com in Denver. "Seasonal cash lows are expected during the current time frame so some premium is warranted, but the level is just too wide for now," he said.

"Futures prices buckled as traders lost confidence in the cash market's ability to catch up," a broker said. Another said traders elected to take profits in the December contract on the final day of November after prices had rallied earlier in the month. Spread trades using February as the long or buy leg limited losses in that month.

Hog weights remain heavy, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's daily reports. Analysts and livestock dealers said the extra weight is a concern for the market because it means there are more hogs available for processing before weights can be brought down to year-ago levels. More pork is produced per head and in total from the heavy hogs.

In the cash markets Tuesday, pork processors paid generally flat prices for hogs. Most of the plants appear to have sufficient supplies for much of the week including Saturday. A few plants may need to buy additional loads to complete their weekend operations but they should be able to do so at or near the current market prices, according to livestock dealers and market managers. There may be some mixed undertones in the cash markets Wednesday, they said.

-By Curt Thacker, Dow Jones Newswires; 913-322-5178; curt.thacker@dowjones.com