The cattle market saw choppy trading early during yesterday's session but prices rose to a 3-session high led by strength in hogs and an improving demand tone for beef. The surge in beef prices this week and ideas that consumer demand during the next few months might benefit from lower gasoline prices was seen as a positive factor, A late pullback in the stock market may have helped to limit early support, however, and outside market forces are widely expected to be a negative force during the balance of this week. A rise in beef prices this week may be due to seasonally strong demand from retailers in front of the Memorial Day holiday could provide additional support to the cash market outlook, with last week's cash market already much higher than July and August futures. Cash market offers in Texas this week are at $122.00 to $123.00, compared with trades at $120.0 last week. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 126,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 253,000 head, up from 245,000 head last week at this time but down from 259,000 head a year ago. Boxed beef cutout values were down 2 cents at mid-session yesterday and closed 58 cents higher at $191.61. This was up from $190.82 the prior week and is the highest beef market since March 19th.
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