December hogs closed sharply higher on the session yesterday while pushing to the highest price level since early August. April hogs posted a new contract high as well as a new high close. A more positive tilt for the US economy and for consumer demand were seen to help provide further buying support as well. Talk of stronger packer margins and indications of stronger export levels have helped to provide underlying support as well. Pork values have remained steady during a period of higher supply and many traders will continue to monitor pork values for any signs of larger export demand. Weights have quickly recovered from the sharp drop into early August, and some traders feel that is a slightly negative supply factor. Weekly average weights for Iowa-Southern Minnesota as of October 1st came in at 270.5 pounds, up from 270.0 pounds the previous week and down from 270.7 pounds last year. Stronger demand from packers for a large Saturday kill along with continued firm margins from packers are widely seen as positive market forces. The CME Lean Hog Index for the 2-day period ending October 3rd was up to 91.51, up 21 cents from the previous session. January through July exports are up 16% from last year, and the market will get a closer look at August exports next week. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 431,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.282 million head, up from 1.280 million head last week at this time and up from 1.258 million head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $98.13, down 18 cents from Tuesday but up from $97.78 the previous week.