April hogs closed $1.07 lower on the session yesterday, finishing just above the lows for the session. April hogs traded near unchanged levels for the day early but weakness in cattle emerged to pressure the market down to the lowest prices levels since February 14th. Some traders indicated that the winter weather system over the Midwest during the next few days was not expected to have a major impact on hog movement later in the week. A rally in the US dollar and concerns over rising energy prices cutting into demand were additional negative factors that weighed on prices. Weak packer profit margins, sluggish action for pork product markets and a weaker tone for the cash market into early March are all seen as short-term negative forces. Concern of a slight increase in production during the next two to three weeks along with choppy pork cut-out trading has been widely seen to have removed the premium from April futures over the cash market. The CME Lean Hog Index as of February 23rd came in at 87.94, up 40 cents from the previous session and up from 87.10 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 421,000 head yesterday, which was a little higher than expected. This was up from 376,000 head last week and up from 411,000 head a year ago as this time. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $85.64, down 13 cents from Friday and down from $86.46 during the previous week.