LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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09/11/2019 | 09:26 pm


TOP STORIES





US Foods to Sell Three Facilities to Settle FTC Concerns on Services Group Deal



US Foods Holding Corp will sell three distribution centers to settle antitrust concerns over its planned $1.8 billion acquisition of five food businesses from Services Group of America Inc., the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Wednesday.



The agency said US Foods agreed to sell facilities in Boise, Idaho; Fargo, N.D.; and the greater Seattle area to buyers who are members of Distribution Market Advantage, a consortium of regional distributors that competes with US Foods.





Conagra to Sell DSD Snacks Business



Conagra Brands on Wednesday said it has entered an agreement to sell its Direct Store Delivery, or DSD, snacks business to Utz Quality Foods LLC.



Conagra said it expects to close the transactions by the end of this year, though it didn't disclose the deal's terms.





Farm Bureau Calls on USDA to Monitor Cattle Trade -- Market Talk



13:02 ET - The USDA last week announced it would probe beef pricing in the wake of an August fire at a Kansas cattle processing plant, which sent prices for cattle sharply lower at the same time wholesale beef prices jumped. The American Farm Bureau Federation, in a letter to USDA Under Secretary Greg Ibach, welcomes the move and urges the USDA to go further and continue keeping an eye on cattle markets: the agency should "use its authority to monitor the markets to prevent unfair practices, as well as to provide all grading and auditing services necessary at surrounding plants," writes Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall in the letter. The Farm Bureau, which represents cattlemen, says "increased volatility," in cattle markets is putting a burden on ranchers. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)





STORIES OF INTEREST





Red Robin, Vintage Still at Odds -- Market Talk



14:39 ET - After Red Robin Gourmet Burgers rejected a Vintage Capital Management buyout offer last week, Vintage said in a filing Tuesday that a company press release "grossly misrepresents" the situation. Vintage said that while it "remains to be seen" whether new CEO Paul J.B. Murphy III is "an A+ Chief Executive," he was given an "A+ compensation package that does not align with creating stockholder value." On Wednesday, Red Robin said again that its board carefully reviewed the buyout offer and determined it undervalued the company. Red Robin said it is "excited about the Company's potential to improve customer experience, significantly improve cash flow and increase profitability." (josh.beckerman@wsj.com)





StarKist Ordered to Pay $100 Million Fine in Tuna Price-Fixing Case



StarKist Co. has been ordered to pay a $100 million criminal penalty for its role in conspiring to fix prices for canned tuna sold in the U.S.



Last year, the company agreed to plead guilty to a felony antitrust charge related to the price fixing. The Justice Department had alleged the company and others worked together to set prices for packaged tuna from 2011 until at least the end of 2013.





China Pork Prices May Rise Further Despite Policy Measures: Bocom Int'l -- Market Talk



0819 GMT - Pork prices in China may rise further, even after surging 93% on year in August amid an outbreak of African swine fever, as relief from policy measures to release emergency reserves and boost imports has been limited, Bocom International says. Breeding-sow volume has fallen faster than expected in July, which will translate into continued declines in hog production in the next 10 months, Bocom says. The epidemic may benefit large industrial hog raisers such as Wens Foodstuff and Muyuan Foodstuff because their scale allows them to control diseases, maintain output and better take advantage of the current price surge and government policies encouraging production, Bocom says. (yifan.wang@wsj.com)





FUTURES MARKETS





Cattle Inches Back Towards $1/Pound Level -- Market Talk



15:38 ET - Live cattle futures on the CME are making a correction following a decline last week, with the contract up for a second day in a row. Cattle closed at 98.5 cents a pound, up 2.4% for the day. Traders have commented that cattle and hogs are both oversold, but indications China is still holding out from taking more shipments of US pork are serving to keep hog futures weighed down. Hog futures finished the day down 4.1% to 60.175c. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)






CASH MARKETS




Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Sep 11

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin
Operating Index at vertically -
integrated operations

Sep 11 +$ 46.44 +$ 23.94
Sep 10 +$ 42.68 +$ 23.43
Sep 9 +$ 37.69 +$ 22.18

* 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 106.7
(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 100.0

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports



Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday fell $5.49 per hundred pounds, to $219.89, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $2.58 per hundred pounds, to $198.40. The total load count was 166. Wholesale pork prices rose 24 cents, to $71.54 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.



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