The cattle markets eased into the weekend, with live cattle settling with mixed results and feeder cattle finishing modestly lower. Live cattle had traded sharply higher earlier in the session, reaching its highest level since January, before fading late. A stronger-than-expected fed cattle market remains supportive to the markets. Last week, packers paid $131-133 in the South and $132-134 in the North, surpassing the previous record high of $130 set last March. A combination of tight supplies and strong beef sales are forcing/encouraging the packers to bid up for animals. On Wednesday, the choice cutout pushed through the $200 level for the first time since June 18th, but will it be able to sustain these levels? It has struggled to do so historically. It will help that gasoline prices are cheaper, putting some extra spending money in the pockets of the American consumer. The market is also going to have a little added time before Thanksgiving, as it falls later on the calendar this year. That will be the test for the fed cattle trade. Look for a mixed start in the cattle markets this morning.