LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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Pilgrim's Pride Jumps as Profits Seen Taking Wing -- Market Talk

14:05 ET - Investors flock to Pilgrim's Pride (PPC) after analysts project tighter poultry meat supplies and improving profit margins for the number-two US chicken company. Vertical Group believes an industry move toward less-heavy birds will tighten the overall supply of chicken meat this year, which will help support prices, while new chicken-slaughtering plants aren't likely to come online until late 2018, which would also help tamp down supply. This while PPC recoups costs on plant improvements made last year and converts some of its facilities to higher-profit products, like chicken raised without antibiotics. PPC up 8.1% to $25.46, as the analysts boost 12-month price target to $30 from $18. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Food Retail Prices Set to Rebound from Historic Lows -- Market Talk

11:15 ET - The fight between big food retailers over price has been good for consumers. Last year, shoppers paid 1.3% less than a year earlier for eggs, meat and other staples, federal data shows, the steepest drop since 1959. Year-to-year food retail prices declined for the 16th month in March, the longest stretch since 1956. But some believe the trend will reverse this year as commodity prices climb out of a multiyear rout. Moody's expects prices for food consumed at home to rise 1% in 2017. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Trudeau Keeps Cool Following Trump Dairy Attack -- Market Talk

13:06 ET - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau kept to script when asked about President Donald Trump's allegation that Canada's treatment of US dairy farmers is a "disgrace." Trump's unscripted comments in Oval Office was second time in this past week he criticized his northern Nafta partner over how the country protects Canadian dairy sectors from foreign competition -- a scheme known as supply management. "I will continue to defend supply management because it works ... for Canadians," Trudeau said at press conference in Ottawa, alongside Italy PM Paolo Gentiloni. His remarks largely reiterated what he said in Toronto about 24 hours prior. He added nearly every single country, "including the US, supports its agricultural sectors in various ways." Trudeau said Canada would present the data on dairy to Washington in a bid to work constructively with its biggest trading partner. (paul.vieira@wsj.com; @paulvieira)

Wal-Mart Fights to Be Food Retail's Price Leader -- Market Talk

10:59 ET - Wal-Mart (WMT) is fighting to defend its low-cost reputation. WMT executives have told suppliers that the company wants its prices to be 15% lower than competitors' 80% of the time, and the world's biggest retailer is in the midst of a three-year push to slash prices. Wolfe Research recently found prices for a basket of grocery items at Philadelphia area WMT stores were 5.8% lower than a year ago, while those in the Atlanta and Southern California markets were 4.9% and 2.7% cheaper, respectively. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Rise as USDA Shows Large Supply

CHICAGO--Cattle futures inched higher to extend multiweek gains, while a government report showed a large supply of cattle in the U.S.

The U.S Department of Agriculture's cattle-on-feed report was largely in line with expectations. Total cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market for feedlots numbered at 10.9 million head as of April 1, slightly above a year ago.

Placements in commercial lots in March rose to 2.1 million head, 11% higher than last year. Analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal were expecting a 7.5% increase.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Apr 21

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Apr 21 +$41.19 +$31.34

Apr 20 +$38.10 +$29.28

Apr 19 +$38.08 +$30.42

* 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 97.5

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 95.7

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose $1.44 per hundred pounds, to $217.16, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 32 cents per hundred pounds, to $203.89. The total load count was 90. Wholesale pork prices rose 96 cents, to $74.98 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 21, 2017 17:25 ET (21:25 GMT)