February cattle closed 35 higher on the session Friday and up 207 for last week, although finishing far below the overnight high of 126.07. News that cash cattle traded $3 higher in Texas and a new all-time high for March Feeder cattle helped to support strong gains. The USDA report released after Friday's close did not offer any big surprises and the report did not show a shift toward expansion. In fact, heifer and heifer calves on feed were up 6% from last year. Weekly U.S. beef export sales for the week ending January 12th came in at 6,700 metric tonnes, compared with the prior 4-week average of 3,925 tonnes. Cumulative sales for 2012 have reached 93,100 metric tonnes, up 9.3% from last year's pace. The Cattle-on-Feed report released after Friday's close was considered neutral to slightly supportive for cattle futures. Placements for the month of December came in right on the average estimate at 94.1% of last year. Feedlot marketings for the month of December came in slightly above expectations at 98.1%, and that resulted in a little smaller than expected supply of feedlot cattle on January 1st at 103% of last year. The monthly cold storage report also released after Friday's close, showed total beef in cold storage at 451.19 million pounds, which was up 3% from last month and up 1% from last year. Frozen beef stocks normally increase by 2% for the month, so the report should be considered neutral. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 110,000 head Friday and 12,000 head for Saturday. This brought the total for last week to 628,000 head, down from 653,000 the previous week and down from 639,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were down 10 cents at mid-session Friday and closed 46 cents higher at $182.00. This was down from $184.12 the prior week.