HOGS: Lean hog futures are lower in midsession trade Thursday. Cash hog prices continue to work slowly lower, and they are now down about $5 per cwt since the middle of the month. The weakening cash prices are putting pressure on futures prices as well. The recent strength in the dollar is also a concern since exports are such an important part of demand. Hog weights are rising. Last week they were up 1.4 pounds from a year earlier. A hefty slaughter schedule is expected for Saturday, but it looks like plants have their needs covered well into next week. At midsession, February hogs are down 50 cents at $85.05, while April hogs are down 32 cents at $88.63.
COTTON: Cotton prices opened higher as expected but then quickly sold off and are now on the minus side, though off the lows of the day thus far. Cotton prices posted big gains on Wednesday turning most technical signals positive. But with just today and tomorrow left as trading days for year-end book closing and traders reluctant to maintain positions through a holiday weekend, we’re seeing some profit-taking today; especially since there wasn’t much news to warrant yesterday’s jump in futures and the strengthening dollar is hurting export competitiveness. At midsession, March cotton is down 28 at $90.40 while new crop December cotton is down $1.81 at $87.12.