April cattle moved higher early in the session yesterday to post a 4-session high, before turning around and closing sharply lower for the day. A rally in the US stock market along with ideas that demand is holding at strong levels were seen as supporting the market early and were thought to have helped to lift June, August and other deferred contracts up to new contract highs. While the beef market is showing increased activity, beef production last week was 2.7% higher than last year while demand fears continue to impact the market. A major pullback in the stock market from early highs yesterday, plus the collapse of February cattle on its last trading day may have triggered a heavy sell-off and a drop to the lowest price levels since February 14th. Widely held ideas that the cash market will have difficulty moving higher short-term with poor packer profit-margins as well as the uncertainty with consumer demand helped to support. However, ideas that packers could slow down their purchases this week due to poor margins were seen as a negative factor for the market. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 126,000 head yesterday. This was up from 113,000 head last week and up from 123,000 head a year ago as this time. Beef production last week was estimated at 498.9 million pounds which was up 2.7% from last year. Boxed beef cutout values were up $1.06 at mid-session yesterday and closed $1.34 higher at $171.40. This was up from $169.10 the prior week and is the highest beef market since February 3rd.