LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

10/23/2020 | 05:11pm

TOP STORIES

 
More Restaurants File Lawsuits Over Chicken -- Market Talk 

14:06 ET - More national restaurant chains file price-fixing lawsuits against top chicken companies. White Castle, Golden Corral and Cracker Barrel this week filed separate complaints in a Chicago federal court alleging that chicken suppliers including Pilgrim's Pride, Tyson Foods and others artificially inflated chicken meat prices by coordinating data and price reporting, and through direct communication among sales execs. A Tyson spokesman says the company will contest the claims, which he called unfounded; Pilgrim's representatives didn't respond to a request for comment. The lawsuits come after Pilgrim's last week reached a $110.5M plea deal in a criminal price-fixing case pursued by the Justice Department. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

 
European Parliament Defends Veggie 'Burgers' Against Farmers' Objections 

The European Parliament has voted against a measure that proposed a ban on referring to vegetable-based products with meat-related terms such as 'veggie burgers', in a blow to the hopes of the continent's livestock sector. Lawmakers rejected all proposals to reserve meat-related names to products containing meat, the European Parliament's Committee on Agricultural and Rural Development said Friday. The vote was 379 against and 284 votes in favor.

 
Bloomin' Up on Indoor Dining Increases -- Market Talk 

0907 ET - Bloomin' Brands beats 3Q expectations though the casual-dining chain still posts a double-digit same-store sales decline. The Tampa, Fla.-based chain says its US same-store sales declined 12.8% in 3Q. Indoor dining is driving much of the Outback Steakhouse-owner's sales, including in Florida where the state last month removed capacity caps for restaurants, executives say. Bloomin' up 0.8% in pre-market trading. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

STORIES OF INTEREST

 
Plant-Based Meat and Dairy to Become $8.9B Market in Europe by 2025, ING Says -- Market Talk 

1221 GMT - The plant-based meat and dairy market is set to be worth EUR7.5 billion in Europe by 2025 compared to EUR4.4 billion last year, ING says. There is a growing number of meat and dairy companies entering the plan-based market in order to cater to shifting consumer demand, ING says, adding that consumers are increasingly considering their health, animal welfare and sustainability in their decision making. However, ING notes the rise of plant-based sales is coming from a small base and that alternatives represent only 0.7% of the market for meat and 2.5% of the dairy market. (maitane.sardon@wsj.com)

 
Danone's Alpro to Draw Eco-Conscious Shoppers, GlobalData Says -- Market Talk 

0938 GMT - Environmental goals by Alpro, a plant-based food and drink company that Danone bought as part of an EUR11 billion deal in 2016, are expected to draw shoppers, GlobalData says. A recent survey from GlobalData found that 12% of consumers say cutting their carbon footprint is their top priority and 19% say that priority became significantly more important to them following the coronavirus pandemic. Alpro has pledged to introduce 100% recyclable packs and paper-based cups for its yogurt and cut 60% of water use per product. "Its product will potentially become a standard for all other health and sustainability-focused brands," says Ryan Whittaker, consumer analyst at GlobalData. (dieter.holger@wsj.com; @dieterholger)

 
Dairy Farm International's Valuation Looks Attractive -- Market Talk 

0530 GMT - Dairy Farm International's valuation looks attractive and its headline forward PE of under 17 times is below its Asean peers' average of 20-25 times, DBS Group Research says. The food and personal hygiene products retailer's margin improvement from its 1H earnings is also a positive and could help drive its operational efficiencies over the longer term, DBS says. Meanwhile the ongoing transformation of its South Asia supermarkets should drive earnings and a share price re-rating, DBS notes. The bank maintains its buy rating but cuts its target price to US$4.44 from US$4.86, citing minor setbacks from the Covid-19 pandemic due to its exposure to tourist-dependent markets. Shares are flat at US$3.76. (justina.lee@wsj.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

 
Hog Futures Finish Higher -- Market Talk 

14:57 ET - Lean hog futures trading on the CME finished up 1.3%, at 67.025 cents per pound. The uptick in futures came following the release of the USDA's cold storage report late Thursday, which was seen as bullish by livestock traders. "[The report] showed pork supplies continue to move very efficiently through the system," says Steiner Consulting Group. "This marks the fifth month in a row that stocks have been more than 20% below a year ago and largely ignored seasonal trends." Meanwhile, live cattle futures finished trading Friday up 0.1% to $1.03575 per pound. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

 
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Oct 23 
 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
 
Oct 23       +$ 60.18            +$ 69.79 
Oct 22       +$ 71.75            +$ 84.67 
Oct 21       +$ 62.57            +$ 81.96 
 
* 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   92.0 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)      Select   96.1 
 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 
 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell $1.37 per hundred pounds, to $207.49, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 32 cents per hundred pounds, to $191.40. The total load count was 148. Wholesale pork prices fell $6.92, to $91.53 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

10-23-20 1710ET

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