June hogs followed Thursday's strong upmove with another sharp rally yesterday, reaching the highest price level since March 12th before giving up most of its gains and traded back towards unchanged levels by the end of the session. At yesterday's highs, June hogs had posted a rally of 4.87 since March 29th.
Some traders feel that the strong rally off of the March lows may have been too far, too fast for the market to absorb. Other traders feel that a seasonal turn up may be a positive factor but the lack of a significant recovery in the pork cash markets may limit strength in hog futures over the near-term. Midwest direct hogs were steady to 50 cents higher yesterday. The estimated hog slaughter came in at 274,000 head versus 416,000 head last Monday and 402,000 head a year ago. This was less than expected, and is widely considered to be slightly negative for the market. The CME Lean Hog Index as of April 5th came in at 82.67, up 11 cents from the previous session but down from 83.28 the week before. This left June futures at a more normal premium to the cash market. Pork cutout values released after the close yesterday came in at $78.41, down 13 cents from Friday and down from $79.95 the previous week.