April hogs closed 15 points higher on the session Friday and was able to close up 207 points for the week, as a late rally lifted the market towards the highest price levels since February 2nd. Strength in the grains and cattle was thought to have provided some underlying support. A slowdown in the slaughter pace for this week due to holiday and milder weather were seen as negative forces but a rally to new highs in cattle may have also supported the late rally. The short-term cash fundamental news remains mixed with some indications of sloppy demand offset by signs that seasonal demand is on the rise. A mild premium of April futures to the cash market may be an early indication of higher cash prices during the near-term. The CME Lean Hog Index as of February 15th came in at 87.09, down 10 cents from the previous session and down from 87.70 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 394,000 head Friday and 71,000 head for Saturday. This brought the total for last week to 2.149 million head, up from 2.130 million head the previous week and up from 2.095 million head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $86.46, down 41 cents from Friday but up from $85.39 the previous week. Iowa/Minnesota direct trade on Monday was up 35 for the day, after the market fell $1.84 during all of last week. The recent volatile trading in pork cut-out values has some traders on edge over the idea of the market absorbing a rise in production going into March.