Hog futures proved surprisingly firm in the face of the Wednesday morning drop by their counterparts in the cattle pit. Differences in their respective cash situations probably account for the difference. That is, while wire services were reporting significant declines in Southern Plains cattle prices, they also published USDA reports of higher morning prices at direct markets west of the Mississippi River. The noon pork report also seemed supportive. Still, one had to wonder if the hog and pork complex can perform at all well if cattle and beef prices suffer an unexpected failure during the days and weeks just ahead. February hogs had inched 0.10 cents higher to 85.35 cents/pound just before lunch, while June futures rose 0.17 cents to 96.77.