LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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08/13/2019 | 09:28 pm


TOP STORIES




Cattle Continue to Sink on Tyson Plant Concerns -- Market Talk



10:11 ET - Live cattle futures on the CME are down 3.4%, as traders are watching for updates from Tyson Foods about the fire at its Kansas beef plant, which was on its own responsible for roughly 5% of beef production in the US. Cattle futures have lost approximately 6% since the fire happened, but traders believe that the plant will not be offline for as long as originally believed. "I think people are getting a sense that this isn't the end of the world," says Troy Vetterkind of Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage. Lean hog futures, meanwhile, are up 1% so far for Tuesday's session. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)





STORIES OF INTEREST




Higher Pork Costs Hurts Margins at Premium Brands -- Market Talk



08:11 ET - Investors looking to see how the outbreak of African swine fever in China can ripple through a food producer should consider Premium Brands Holdings, which makes a variety of meat products under various brand names. The Canadian company reports higher costs for commodity pork in 2Q due to the outbreak in China, hurting its specialty food unit's gross profit margin. The company raised prices as pork expenses increased but many of those gains didn't take hold until the end of the quarter. "No one knows how this issue is going to play out," CEO George Paleologou says. (micah.maidenberg@wsj.com; @MicahMaidenberg)




McDonald's Reaping Rewards From Focus on Future -- Market Talk



12:21 ET - MKM begins coverage of McDonald's with a buy rating largely on the company's push to modernize its restaurants, which the investment bank thinks is already paying off. New restaurant formats that combine technology like touchscreens with enhanced menu options are creating an atmosphere where guests are "increasingly comfortable," and restaurants are seeing higher sales, MKM believes. The investment bank also says the company's delivery efforts "continue to gain momentum," with 2019 global delivery sales expected to approach $4B, or 4%-5% of total sales. MKM gives McDonald's a $250 price target. McDonald's shares are up 1.2% to $219.76 and more than 23% higher year-to-date. (patrick.sheridan@wsj.com)




Corn Continues to Tumble in Reaction to WASDE



Corn for December delivery fell 4.1% to $3.76 1/2 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on Tuesday, with traders continuing to respond to estimates for higher-than-expected yields and planted acreage. Soybeans for December delivery gained 1.1% to $8.89 a bushel. Wheat for September delivery rose 0.1% to $4.72 a bushel.




Agriculture Stocks Jump on New US-China Talks -- Market Talk



10:11 ET - A potential thaw in chilly US-China trade relations boosts stocks of agricultural traders and suppliers. Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge each rise 2.6%, outpacing gains in US stock indexes, after US officials say they Trump administration will delay some planned tariffs on Chinese products until mid-December, giving investors hope that China could begin buying US crops and meat again. Ethanol makers, which have banked heavily on Chinese demand for the corn-based fuel additive, also get a boost, with Green Plains up 3%. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)





FUTURES MARKETS




Livestock Take Another Hit -- Market Talk



15:54 ET - The Tuesday session ended with livestock futures taking a beating, with October live cattle closing limit down, falling 4.3% to 99.25 cents per pound. It's the lowest the contract been since April 4 of last year, driven mostly by questions surrounding how fast Tyson Foods' beef processing plant in Kansas can recover from the fire over the weekend. Meanwhile, lean hog futures on the CME took a spill as well, after rising yesterday. The contract dropped 3.7% to 64.575 cents per pound. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)





CASH MARKETS




Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Aug 13

This report reflects U.S. pork packer processing margins. The margin indices
are calculated using current cash hog or carcass values and wholesale pork
cutout values and may not reflect actual margins at the plants. These
estimates reflect the general health of the industry and are not meant to
be indicative of any particular company or plant.
Source: USDA, based on Wall Street Journal calculations
All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin
Operating Index at vertically -
integrated operations
Aug 13 +$ 31.50 +$ 59.16
Aug 12 +$ 37.22 +$ 61.44
Aug 9 +$ 30.62 +$ 60.60

* Based on Iowa State University's latest estimated cost of production.
A positive number indicates a processing margin above the cost of
production of the animals.

Beef-O-Meter
This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite
values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices.

Beef
For Today Choice 108.6
(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 100.5

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports



Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday rose $7.74 per hundred pounds, to $226.36, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $2.79 per hundred pounds, to $200.58. The total load count was 173. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.06, to $87.92 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.





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