KANSAS CITY (Dow Jones)--The markets for slaughter cattle and beef appear to be leaking support slowly, and cash prices this week seem steady to weaker, market analysts and brokers said.

"There is nothing inspiring about the market," said one trader.

Bids are scattered at $82 per hundredweight on a live basis to $128 dressed. Cattle feeders, however, are seeking more and are passing on such bids.

The few asking prices that are available were clustered around $86 around the Plains. Asking prices in Nebraska were more ill-defined and described by one analyst as "somewhere north of $128." Another analyst said they were around $130 to $132.

Cattle traded last week at mostly $84.50 on a live basis in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas with some at $82 to $84 in Nebraska. Cattle also sold at $129 to $130 in Nebraska's dressed market and at $132.50 to $133 in Kansas.

Reports from the beef markets indicated movement into retail channels is less than exciting. Some packers were thought to be having trouble keeping their coolers cleaned out.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday reported its choice boxed beef cutout price at $138.93 per hundredweight, up $0.20, while select beef was up $0.30 at $133.20. The volume of fabricated loads was 163 and there were 60 loads of trimmings and coarse grind product reported.

The HedgersEdge packer margin index is a minus $1.75 a head, compared with the previous index of a minus $0.70.

Urner Barry's Yellow Sheet Tuesday reported minimal price changes in the boxed beef market. Beef processors generally have manageable spot market inventory positions given pre-sold orders, but unsold product such as choice ribs, a few items from the chuck complex and loin meat, traded at slight discounts.


-By Lester Aldrich, Dow Jones Newswires; 913-322-5179; lester.aldrich@dowjones.com