April hogs closed sharply higher on the session yesterday after recovering from the lowest price levels since January 31st. Weakness in the cash market and some carryover pressure from other commodity markets, including a massive sell-off in gold and silver, helped to pressure the hog market early in Wednesday's session. With weak packer margins, sloppy trade for pork product markets and an uptick in production expected into March, some traders feel the hog market may be a bit vulnerable to further weakness. Ham prices were weak yesterday to help pull the market lower and it will be difficult for the cash market to move much higher if product prices stay weak. Cash markets are expected to trade higher today but the ham market decline might keep packers cautious, especially with their negative margins. Recent US economic news has been better than expected, which along with strong gains in the grain markets helped to provide some underlying support for hog futures. The CME Lean Hog Index as of February 27th came in at 87.96, down 18 cents from the previous session but up from 86.95 the week before. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 422,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 1.265 million head, up from 1.219 million head last week at this time and up from 1.256 million head a year ago. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $84.89, down 75 cents from Tuesday and down from $84.93 the previous week. This is the lowest pork trade since February 9th. Weekly average weights for Iowa-Southern Minnesota as of February 25th came in at 275.8 pounds, down from 276 the previous week and up from 274.2 pounds last year.