June cattle closed moderately lower for the session yesterday and near the lows of the day as weakness in the beef market and lower hog prices were thought to have kept cattle prices under pressure. Ideas that beef prices and consumer demand is on the rise may have provided some measure of support to cattle prices during the session. However, fears that global financial weakness could erode US consumer sentiment have the market concerned over the possibility of sluggish demand going forward. With a sputtering US economy, increased concern for the global economy led by events in the Euro zone and a new mad cow case in the US, some traders feel that retailers may take a more conservative approach for the short-term. Boxed beef cutout values were down $1.51 at mid-session yesterday and closed $1.59 lower at $189.92. This was down from $190.96 the prior week and is the lowest beef market since April 23rd. Weekly U.S. beef export sales for the week ending May 3rd came in at 20,800 metric tonnes, compared with the prior 4-week average of 17,700. Cumulative sales for 2012 have reached 380,600 metric tonnes, up 5.4% from last year's pace. Traders saw this as further evidence that the mad cow incident is not causing a slowdown in exports. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 127,000 head yesterday, which was higher than expected and normally a sign of stronger demand from the packer. This brings the total for the week so far to 497,000 head, up from 490,000 head last week at this time but down from 513,000 head a year ago. Average dressed steer weights for the week ending April 28th came in at 828 pounds, down from 835 pounds the previous week but still up from 815 pounds last year. Beef production for the same week came in at 475.2 million pounds, down 3.04% over year ago.