April hogs managed to close slightly higher on the session yesterday, but nearly 95 points above the lows as an early break drove the market down to the lowest prices levels since January 26th. A large premium of futures to the cash market, aw well as news that cash hogs traded steady to $0.50 lower on the day were seen as the main negative factors early in the session. News of higher average weights this week was also felt to have added to the negative tone with weekly average weights for Iowa-Southern Minnesota as of February 26th at a whopping 274.2 pounds, up from 273.1 the previous week and up from 269.2 pounds last year. The CME Lean Hog Index as of February 28th came in at 84.25, up 33 cents from the previous session and up from 82.90 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 422,000 head yesterday, which was below trade expectations and considered slightly negative. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.262 million head, up from 1.237 million head last week at this time but down from 1.286 million head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $91.55, down 5 cents from Tuesday and down from $92.47 the previous week.
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