February cattle closed lower for the 7th session in a row yesterday, finishing near the lows of the day. December cattle also closed lower and fell to the lowest price levels since November 1st. Outside market forces remain weak and many traders see a continued long liquidation pattern that began last week. Weakness in the stock market and a stronger US Dollar were also seen as negative factors for cattle prices. The highest beef trade since April and record high cash prices last week have failed to provide support. Ideas that the US and European economic problems could eventually lead to weaker demand for beef and pressure cash cattle markets has helped drive the market sharply lower from the November 4th all-time highs for nearby futures. Many in the market see very negative profit margins from packers as a reason to suspect that a slight set-back in beef prices could spark a major set-back in live cattle values. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 128,000 head yesterday. This was down from 129,000 head last week and down from 131,000 head a year ago as this time. Boxed beef cutout values were up 34 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed $1.38 higher at $192.40. This was up from $189.16 the prior week. Select beef was up $2.38 to $175.08.
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