KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--U.S. hog futures closed narrowly mixed Thursday in light volume trading with the nearby months down slightly on long-position profit taking before the long holiday weekend.

Most-active February lean hogs at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange were off 0.15 cent, or 0.2%, at 78.72 cents a pound. The contract rallied from a lower opening to hit a fresh three-month high before easing back as some traders banked their profits from recent gains.

April hit a new contract high before settling off 0.12 cent, or nearly 0.2%, at 82.77 cents. June through August also hit new contract highs while October posted a 7 1/2-week high. Also, August through October closed higher.

Brokers and analysts said trading volume in the pit and in Globex was light as the activity geared down ahead of the Christmas holiday weekend. A broker said many traders left the lean hog pit for extended periods during the session due to the slow volume.

"The market opened weaker and briefly acted like it might break after yesterday's [Wednesday's] sharp rally, but the break didn't last long as buying re-emerged," said a private trader who requested anonymity.

Another broker said support came from speculative buying by some traders near the day's lows and expectations that slaughter-ready hog supplies could tighten by mid-January.

In the cash markets, some pork processors were quoting mostly flat prices and others were out of the market until next week since they needed fewer hogs for this week's reduced slaughter schedules.

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