February and April cattle closed slightly higher for the session yesterday, with June cattle falling to the lowest level since October 4th. The current discount of futures prices to the cash market as well as a recovery from early lows in the stock market were thought to have supported a rebound in cattle futures early in the session. Many traders remain concerned over the possibility of weaker demand going into the holiday period, and with developments in Europe that could slow the global economic outlook. February cattle are now trading at a large discount to last week's cash market so futures may be pricing in a significant drop in cash cattle prices during the first quarter. This is usually a period of time when supply will continue to dwindle and there is also a shift towards a smaller production base. February cattle normally trade at about a $3.00-$4.00 premium to the cash market at this time of the year, and are currently trading at a $5.00 discount. Some traders feel that poor packer margins and a higher showlist this week could spark a setback in the cash market. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 127,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 388,000 head, up from 384,000 head last week at this time but down from 391,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up 18 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed 69 cents higher at $190.89. This was down from $194.43 the prior week.