Despite strong cash cattle prices, Drovers' index of economic indicators turned weaker during December, but the overall index remains strong. Four of the eight arrows point higher, while two point lower and two sideways. Last month six of the eight arrows pointed higher. Cash cattle prices, production costs, performance and margins and inventory watch all improved over the previous month keeping those arrows pointing up. Indicators for the beef market and competitive meats turned sideways during the past month. Production indicators held the arrow pointing lower as cattle-on-feed numbers are high and marketings were somewhat lower. The packing and processing arrow remains pointing lower as the slaughter rate is again lower than the previous month. The overall outlook is bright for beef during 2000 as prices and margins should continue to improve.