Investment bank Merrill Lynch & Co yesterday [Thursday] lowered its earnings estimates for Des Moines, Iowa-based hog producer Smithfield Foods.

Analyst Leonard Teitelbaum citing unhedged hog inventory positions in his report entitled “Naked Hogs Aren’t Pretty”, in which he slashed estimates for the current fiscal Q4 to 22 cents per diluted share from 30 cents, and to US$1.78 from US$1.86 for the full year.

Looking forward into fiscal 2003, Teitelbaum dropped the range from to US$2-US$2.10 from US$2.15-US$2.20 per diluted share.