KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--U.S. hog futures Monday closed mostly lower on their premiums to current cash prices and on profit taking, or selling of long positions purchased earlier.

Front-month December hogs at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange slid 0.32 cent a pound, or 0.5%, and closed at 70.02 cents. The December contract will expire on Dec. 14, so it has just 11 sessions remaining. Most-active February fell 0.92 cent, or 1.2%, to 76.22 cents. Some speculative selling and spreads using February as the short leg and April or December as the long or buy side of the spread were reported as well.

A broker said some traders feel that February last week had run up to a level that was too high relative to their expectations for cash prices this winter, so they turned into sellers.

Ken Jolliffe, analyst with Bump Investor Services, said the traders are all back from the holiday but the market is "fenced in between decent fundamentals [cash hog and pork prices] and economic uncertainty." He said the dollar being stronger also weighed on hog futures. A stronger dollar means that international customers may have to pay more for U.S. pork, and that could temper sales if the dollar continues up in value.

In addition, hog slaughters in recent weeks have been larger than had been expected, and some traders are concerned that supplies may remain large into the winter. If so, that could keep prices from rallying enough to catch up to where futures indicate the market should be later on.

In the cash markets, pork processors are paying mostly flat prices to begin the week, with some firmer indicators for prices on loads to be delivered Thursday and later. Livestock dealers and market managers said some plants need more hogs for the second half of the week but the buyers may be reluctant to pay higher prices for the hogs this early in the week.

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