October cattle closed slightly lower on the session yesterday, but well above the lows of the day. The market traded sharply lower early, down eventually to 119.25 before closing at 120.10. Ideas of larger placements in the USDA' Cattle-On-Feed report at the end of this week was widely thought to have pressured the market. However, another surge higher in the stock market along with strength from other commodity markets helped to support cattle futures yesterday. Today could prove to be a different story, as global stock markets are under heavy selling pressure during the early hours of the day. A large premium of October futures to the cash market, plus ideas that Labor Day bookings will be completed soon were also thought to have weakened the market. A stronger beef market has been widely seen as a key supportive factor during the past few weeks and has helped cattle futures hold near a $4.00 premium to the cash market. Beef prices have seen a strong run higher as retailers are booking needs for the Labor Day holiday but some traders are nervous with recent poor sentiment readings for consumer confidence and the potential impact on demand. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 127,000 head yesterday. This was up from 126,000 head last week and up from 126,000 head a year ago as this time. Boxed beef cutout values were up $1.32 at mid-session yesterday and closed $1.78 higher at $181.59.
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