February cattle found buying support yesterday from a positive tilt to outside market forces, and from stronger cash markets late last week. Ideas that the global economy is doing better and that will eventually translate into better exports of US beef were thought have supported the solid gains in the past few sessions. Cash cattle traded sharply higher to $123.00-$124.50 last week, which helped support the market but beef prices have lagged since then and many traders feel that it will be important to see strength in the beef market soon to help rationalize the higher prices in the cash market. The higher cash prices combined with the lower beef market of the past week has forced packer margins deep into the red. A surge in global equity markets and a sharply lower US dollar helped to support the market as well. A rally in the grain markets helped to drive feeder cattle to yet another new all-time high, and this added to the positive tone for cattle. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 131,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 262,000 head, up from 259,000 head last week at this time and up from 251,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were up 21 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed 81 cents lower at $182.90. This was down from $190.20 the prior week and is the lowest beef market since September 30th.