KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--Chicago Mercantile Exchange lean hog futures closed mostly higher Monday and posted solid gains in all actively-traded months except nearby October, which finished lower.

In other markets, pork bellies were sharply higher, live cattle finished mostly higher, and feeder cattle were lower.

October through April lean hogs slipped from their highs hit earlier in the session in which December reached a six-session top and February matched last week's ceiling.

A lack of follow-through buying along with some mild profit taking, or selling of contracts purchased earlier, caused lean hog prices to pull back from the highs hit during the first hour.

Analysts and brokers said some traders holding short positions at the start of the session elected to exit by buying them back after the market opened firm. Some buy stops, or orders previously placed, were tripped when prices ran up through key chart resistance levels.

A broker said some traders were buyers in December and February hogs after the quarterly hogs and pigs report showed a slightly smaller-than-expected figure for the under 60-pound market hog category at 96%, down 4% from a year ago, compared with a 98.3% average of analysts' estimates. Pigs in that weight bracket as of Sept. 1, would reach slaughter weight by about January.

October hogs closed down seven points at 49.87 cents a pound. December was up 70 at 49.72 cents. The February and April contracts had the biggest gains at 102 and 110 points respectively.

February pork bellies closed up the 200-point daily limit at 82.70 cents a pound. March also settled 200 points higher at 81.40. Bellies saw spill-over support from gains in most of the lean hog contracts.


Cattle Complex

Live cattle futures ended higher after a "stagnant" session that saw prices trade in a narrow range.

Feeder cattle ended lower, pressured by higher corn prices and seasonal declines in cash values, traders said.

Volume was moderate.

Traders and analysts attributed the gains to support from a higher stock market and hopes for a steady to slightly higher cash market this week.

Rebuying of previously sold positions contributed to the strength, an analyst said.

The October live cattle contract settled up 5 basis points at 86.10 cents a pound, and December was up 42 points at 85.77 cents. October feeder cattle were down 15 points at 96.45 cents, and November was off 17 at 96.55.

Live cattle opened higher but ran into selling pressure quickly as bearishly construed or neutral traders saw a selling opportunity and took advantage of it.

Subsequent support came after that early selling ran into technical support near Friday's lows.

Beef markets were expected to show some firmness later in the week, even though they appeared to be soft early, market analysts and brokers said.

Meat market analysts said beef middle meats were finding some buying resistance but that end cuts were showing adequate demand.

Early calls for cash markets this week range from steady to $0.50 per hundredweight higher, which lent some support to futures, traders said.

Outside markets, like the stock markets along with some commodity markets were higher, giving live cattle some of that outside direction traders were looking for, brokers said.

Some of the commodity fund-style trading firms also are expected to begin squaring some of their short positions soon as well, and local investors were keeping the prices of various months in line with each other to protect their own positions ahead of more extensive fund-style position rolling.


-By Curt Thacker and Lester Aldrich; Dow Jones Newswires; 913-322-5178; curt.thacker@dowjones.com