Live cattle were mixed overnight, possibly finding a positive spin from lower grain prices, as that helps ease concerns over herd liquidations. A slight increase in the boxed beef cutout yesterday also reverses the lower beef trend from earlier in the week. Cooler weather is expected to move across the eastern half of the US over the weekend and into early next week, and this may help beef consumption and improve the outlook for the cattle market. August live cattle traded choppy to lower yesterday on concerns that the record heat over the July 4th holiday cut into beef demand. The boxed beef cutout was down Tuesday, as packers lowered prices in an apparent bid to generate sales, but retailers are reported to be taking a "wait and see" attitude until they determine how sales went. The situation improved somewhat yesterday, with cutout values up 55 cents at mid-session and 35 cents higher by the close to $193.57. This was still down from $197.93 the prior week. Retailers may actually see a boost in beef sales in areas that were hit by power outages, as consumers look to restock. The sharply higher dollar yesterday damages prospects for US beef exports. The estimated cattle slaughter came in at 128,000 head yesterday. This brings the total for the week so far to 385,000 head in this holiday-shortened week, down from 506,000 last week at this time but unchanged from a year ago.
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