February hogs traded in a relatively tight range yesterday and closed slightly lower for the session. Record high weights and a weaker pork market late yesterday may be negative factors for hog futures at the start of today's session. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $88.71, down 87 cents from Tuesday but up from $88.21 the previous week. Weakness in the ham market has some traders feeling that a large portion of holiday buying has been completed, as a lower pork product market could put pressure on the cash market. Cash hogs traded mostly steady yesterday and look steady to lower for today. Weekly average weights for Iowa/Minnesota for the week ending December 3rd came in at 276.2 pounds, which was up from 276.0 pounds last week and 275.6 pounds last year. Good weather during November and what was thought to be a sluggish marketing pace over the past few weeks had weights moving higher, although some traders noted that weights normally peak in mid to late November. Iowa/Minnesota direct trade for the morning came in at an average price of $83.69, which was up $0.30 and may have provided additional support for the market. The CME Lean Hog Index as of December 5th came in at 86.26, up 4 cents from the previous session and up from 84.10 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 431,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.292 million head, up from 1.290 million head last week at this time and up from 1.276 million head a year ago.
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