CME live cattle futures fell early Wednesday after wholesale beef prices resumed their downward trek as the controversy over what critics call "pink slime" continued to hang over the market.
* Traders also cited sliding equities markets and a stronger dollar; both of which, they said, could hurt domestic and foreign demand for U.S. beef and pork.
* "Outside markets are not helping, but the stock market has been up a lot," a CME cattle trader said.
* He said the retreat on Wall Street may be tied to debt problems in Europe, as evidenced by sharp decline in overseas financial markets, and "some old fashion profit taking."
LIVE CATTLE - At 8:35 a.m. CDT (1435 GMT), April down 0.025 cent at 119.775 cents per lb and June down 0.100 cent at 115.950 cents.
* Bullish investors moved to the sidelines after cash cattle on Tuesday in Texas and Kansas traded $3 per cwt lower at $122 to $123.
* Packers balked at paying up for cattle given their severely negative margins and the inability to stabilize falling wholesale beef prices, or what's called the cutout.
* Those who wanted to buy futures were also disappointed that wholesale beef movement remain slow at a time when retailers typically gear up for post-Easter grilling specials.
* "I'm concerned because we start seeing demand for beef pick up a few weeks before Easter, and yet the cutout continues to go down," said the CME cattle trader.
* USDA Tuesday afternoon estimated the average price for choice beef at wholesale at $183.09 per cwt, down $1.01. Select cuts fell $1.44 to $180.91 with a total sales volume of 182 carloads.
FEEDER CATTLE - April up 0.050 cent at 149.300 cents per lb and May up 0.050 cent at 148.275 cents.
* Futures traded in line with weak live cattle contracts.