CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Pit-traded Chicago Mercantile Exchange hogs settled higher Friday on short covering and after the stock market roared back from overnight losses.

Lean hogs began the morning mostly weak based on Dow Jones Industrial Average futures' tumble below the vaunted 10000-point mark that was tied to Europe's ongoing economic worries.

However, the Dow distanced itself from overnight lows after anxiety about European financial concerns eased, led by advances in the banking sector. This helped to re-energize hog traders who were troubled by the prospect that persistent negative economic developments would ruin consumer demand for high-end pork items.

Spot-June and nearby-July lean hogs then turned upward after those who bet on futures' slump Thursday pocketed profits. Subsequent advances lifted June above its 100-day moving average and July beyond Thursday's high, which tripped fund buying and buy orders.

Bullish traders were also attracted to front-months' price discounts to CME's lean hog index, Thursday's wholesale pork price bounce and areas of cash hog price firmness Friday.

Market participants now await the U.S. Department of Agriculture's month cold storage report that will be released at 3 p.m. EDT Friday.

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 at 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.

Spot-June finished 1.20 cents a pound higher, or 1.5%, at 81.45 cents. Nearby-July closed up 0.40 cent, or 0.5%, at 82.27 cents.

Floor-traded CME pork bellies weren't quoted.


Cattle Complex

CME live cattle settled mixed on pre-weekend position squaring and jockeying before the U.S. government's monthly cattle-on-feed report that will be available Friday at 3 p.m. EDT.

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
The stock market's overnight slump stirred talk of a lower live cattle start. However, beef contracts opened higher in response to equities that rallied as the session progressed.

Short-covering heading into the weekend and speculative traders who keyed in on June and August discounts to cash provided downside market support. However, this week's lower cash cattle returns and pre-report anxiety spawned selling into periodic market advances.

Cattle processors this week paid $96 to $98 per hundredweight for cash-basis supplies versus mainly $100 last week.

Spot-June live cattle closed down 0.07 cent, or 0.1%, at 91.37 cents a pound. Nearby-Aug finished up 0.15 cent, or 0.2%, at 90.62 cents.

Feeder cattle at the CME closed flat to weak on futures' bearish price premiums to CME's feeder cattle index. Also, periodic Chicago Board of Trade corn spikes were negative for CME feeder cattle because of the prospect of higher input costs for cattle feeders.

Spot-May closed down 0.05 cent, or 0.05%, at 108.75 cents. Most-actively traded August ended down 0.27 cent, or 0.2%, at 110.15 cents.


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