CHICAGO (Dow Jones)--Chicago Mercantile Exchange hogs closed mostly higher Monday on fund buying, buy stops and spreading into December out of October and February.

Live cattle settled mainly firm, and pork bellies ended higher. However, feeder cattle finished weak.

Most lean hogs moved up from the start after those who were short the market covered previously held positions.

Cash hog price bearishness pressured spot-October throughout the morning. That eventually caused the contract to fall through 20-day- moving-average support, which set off sell stops.

December, however, benefited from spreads, a spike in U.S. equities markets, and a weaker dollar. December eventually broke through 100-day-moving-average resistance, which stirred funds into action and tripped buy stops.

Meanwhile, Chicago Board of Trade corn's technical and weather-driven surge emboldened far hog month speculative buyers.

Steady-to-weak cash hog quotes are seen for Tuesday as some processors sort through hogs that were bought last week and carried over into this week.

More spot-October maneuvering is likely ahead of spot-month expiration on Oct. 14.

And, despite December's bearish premium to CME's hog index, some buyers were lured to the contract because of likely wintry weather during that period.

"Looked to me like a Mother Nature play in the December hog month," a veteran hog broker said. "People were a little excited by the prospect of a bad winter after heavy snow fell on parts of the Midwest over the weekend."

October hogs closed 72 points lower at 50.12 cents a pound. December ended 105 points higher at 53.82 cents. February ended 52 points higher at 59.52 cents.

Pork bellies closed higher on short covering, lean hogs' rally and buy stops. Also, May speculative buying was fueled by the prospect of fewer hogs next year due to high-priced corn.

CME's weekly belly storage report will be released Tuesday after 5 p.m. EDT.

February finished 65 points higher at 84.90 cents. March was unquoted. May closed up 25 points at 87.00 cents.

Cattle Complex

The bulk of CME live cattle closed firm on spreading into December out of October and February, fund buying and considerably higher CBOT corn.

Live cattle wobbled at first on buying that was left over from the turn up in futures Friday versus profit-taking by short-term longs.

Most cattle months stabilized and picked up ground as the session progressed. However, spot-October lagged amid cash cattle price uncertainty for this week and pesky deliveries before spot-month expiration on Oct. 30.

October triggered sell stops after it slipped beneath Friday's low and filled that session's chart gap. But, December inched upward when it cleared Friday's high and rolled through 20-day-moving-average resistance.

Earlier U.S. stock market advances and a slumping dollar inspired far-month cattle buyers.

Bulls and bears had opposing views about last weekend's early-winter storm that blew across the upper Midwest.

Market longs viewed the storm as a "wake-up call" because it might signal an early winter. Shorts in the market argued that it is too early to predict the winter of 2009 and that reasonably warm temperatures over the next month or so might melt periodic snowfalls.

Cash cattle fundamentalists await this week's fed cattle business.

There is talk of fewer cattle for sale. Beef packer margins are mending but remain unprofitable. And, directionless wholesale boxed beef prices could keep traders guessing.

Cash-basis fed cattle in the Plains last week brought $79 to $82, compared with mostly $83 the previous week.

The latest operating margin index for beef packers was minus $15.40 per head, compared with minus $22.40 the previous day, as calculated by

The federal government's midday boxed-beef data showed choice cuts down $0.06 per hundredweight Monday, but select items were up $0.17.

Live cattle participants will monitor late-Monday CME information for possible deliveries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly cattle-on-feed report will be released Friday at 3 p.m. EDT.

October live cattle settled down 42 points at 82.20 cents, and December closed up 35 points at 85.30 cents. February closed up 27 points at 86.20 cents.

Feeder cattle ended weak on profit-taking, sell stops and November technical support loss.

Traders worked November/January bear spreads, and CBOT corn's abrupt jump and futures' premiums to CME's feeder cattle index weighed on contracts.

October feeder cattle settled down 15 points at 94.02 cents, and November closed down 30 points at 94.17 cents.

-By Theopolis Waters, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-341-5778;