Cattle prices appear to have strengthened further after the late November shakeout, but by midweek the impression was of a muddled market. From the producer side the National Beef Association claimed major slaughterers were buying more cheaply than they admitted while shrewd sellers were switching to auctions where the best supermarket quality beasts were supposedly making more than £1/kg liveweight. MLC analysts, on the other hand, warned against taking the live auction reports at face value because at this time of year special Christmas stock shows and sales always prompted bidding way above commercially justifiable prices. {{MEAT }}