April cattle closed 40 points higher on the session Friday but managed to close 72 higher for the week. Poor packer margins and talk of weaker demand from packers for live inventory as they cut-back on slaughter helped to weaken the market. A negative tone for outside markets this morning could put additional pressure on the cattle market as the USDA report generally was seen as being in-line and cash markets traded $2.00 lower late on Friday. Mild weather is seen as a negative force as well. The Cattle Inventory report from the USDA appears for most traders to be slightly supportive, as the beef herd was a little below expectations. In addition, heifers 500 pounds and over came in at 101% of last year, while many traders were looking for 98.5%. This means fewer females available for feedlot placements into the spring, which could help support deferred cattle contracts. The feeder supply outside of feedlots came in down 4% from last year's levels. Total cattle and calves as of January 1st came in at 90.769 million head, which was 97.9% of last year. The calf crop was 35.313 million head, 98.9% of last year. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 113,000 head Friday and 5,000 head for Saturday. This brought the total for last week to 608,000 head, down from 628,000 head the previous week and down from 654,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were down 45 cents at mid-session Friday and closed 49 cents lower at $184.13. This was up from $182.00 the prior week.