February and April cattle pushed sharply lower on the session early yesterday, pressured by what was widely seen as a negative USDA cattle-on-feed report from Friday afternoon. On-feed supplies for January 1st plus higher than expected placements of cattle for December were felt to have weakened the market. In addition, cash markets traded at $106.00 last week so the premium of futures to the cash market was seen as adding to the negative tone. April cattle have now finished lower during six of the past seven trading sessions. News of strong exports last week was offset by the negative tone from the USDA cattle-on-Feed report release from Friday, which also showed active placements of cattle again for December and would suggest cattle marketings above last year through May. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 126,000 head yesterday. This was up from 125,000 head last week and up from 122,000 head a year ago at this time. Boxed beef cutout values were up 10 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed 10 cents lower at $173.42. This was up from $171.55 the prior week. Beef prices are just off of the highest level seen since July 10th of 2008. Cash feeder cattle were down $2.00-$3.00, which was also widely seen as a negative development. Many traders are projecting a tightening supply of feeder cattle, potential for declining placements and the possibility that cow slaughter finally begins to slow as reasons to expect a continued longer-term uptrend in cattle this year.