After a sharply lower open yesterday, April lean hogs remained under pressure throughout Tuesday's session. Hogs closed down 62 points for the day after falling to their lowest level since January 31st. Weather conditions have deteriorated considerably but are not expected to have too much of an impact on hog movement during upcoming sessions. Some traders believe that weakness in packer margins could provide additional downside pressure on prices later in during the week. A poorly-received cold storage report, weaker 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. The CME Lean Hog Index as of February 24th came in at 88.14, up 20 cents from the previous session and up from 86.96 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 422,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 843,000 head, up from 798,000 head last week at this time and up from 833,000 head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $85.64, unchanged from Monday and down from $86.07 the previous week. Cash markets for Iowa/Minnesota fell $1.89 on Monday but recovered 87 cents yesterday to $86.77.
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