CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Nagging turmoil in the equities sector is again expected to be reflected in a lower Chicago Mercantile Exchange hogs' open Friday.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped below the benchmark 10000-point level, driven down by persistent fears about Europe's debt situation. Those who trade CME hogs worry that global economic instability could sap consumer demand for high-end pork items.

Potential futures declines on top of Thursday's losses could cause the nearby-July contract to challenge the 100-day moving-average support level of 81.03 cents, which would trigger fund selling. Spot-June is looking up at its 100-day moving-average resistance threshold of 81.29 cents.

While some traders Friday will grapple with conflicting fundamental factors, others await the U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly cold storage report at 3 p.m. EDT.

Analysts' average estimate for total pork supplies held in the nation's freezers in April is 515.2 million pounds. Ham stocks last month are expected around 67.0 million pounds. And the average April projection for belly stocks is 57.1 million pounds based on a range of 53.0 million to 61.255 million pounds.

Fundamentally, Thursday's $0.55 per hundredweight wholesale pork price bounce that bumped up pork packer margins to $7.12 from $4.18 is a supportive market influence. However, processors will likely pressure cash hog prices Friday to conserve those margins.

At least three and possibly four pork plants in the western corn belt will be closed Monday because of margin issues and recent tepid retail pork-buying interest.

CME pork belly unevenness is expected at the start featuring Thursday's $5 per hundredweight fresh belly price rise to $120 against potential bearish activity in other CME livestock sectors.

No belly deliveries were reported by CME Thursday against the May contract that will expire on May 25.

Cattle Complex

Floor-traded CME live cattle will start Friday's session below board given the eroding stock market which doesn't bode well for domestic and foreign consumer demand for expensive beef cuts.

In what has now become a sidebar issue for live cattle traders because of the attention paid to the economy, fading wholesale boxed beef values is a negative fundamental market influence. Plus, bullish and bearish traders are at odds about this week's lower cash cattle returns versus futures' price discounts to cash.

Cash-basis cattle this week brought $96 to $98 per hundredweight, compared with mostly $100 last week.

The U.S. government's Thursday evening boxed beef price data, which reflects wholesale beef values, showed choice cuts down $0.26 per hundredweight, and select items fell $1.07.

Meanwhile, some market participants will exercise caution ahead of USDA's monthly cattle-on-feed report at 3 p.m. EDT Friday. The following are analysts' average forecasts and range of estimates in percentages of a year ago for the federal government's upcoming data:

Average Range of estimates of estimates On-feed on May 1 96.7 96.1-97.3 Placed in April 102.3 98.4-107.5 Marketed in April 100.2 98.9-101.0

Charts show June live cattle poised to take on 91.53-cents 100-day resistance obstacle while August hovers over the 90.34 100-day moving average support area.

In beef import news, the U.S. has banned beef from Japan in the wake of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, or FMD, in cattle there, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture officials.

The exchange's feeder cattle market will open lower as well on follow through from futures' sharp fall Thursday. Feeder cattle months are also modestly overpriced based on CME's feeder cattle index.

(To access the daily livestock market data recap report, keyword search for "Livestock Market Fundamental Data Recap.")


-By Theopolis Waters, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-347-4965; theopolis.waters@dowjones.com