LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Whole Foods Enters Earnings with Activism Push -- Market Talk

16:09 ET - Whole Foods (WFM) will report 2Q earnings May 10 with two groups of activists having gone public with their demands. Mutual-fund manager Neuberger Berman, which owns a 2.7% stake in the organic grocery chain, sent a letter to the company's board this week urging it to "immediately engage advisors" to review options including a sale or joint venture. Jana Partners called for a similar review. Neuberger and Jana aren't working together, according to people familiar with the matter. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

Pinnacle Outperforms Broader US Food Industry -- Market Talk

14:16 ET - Pinnacle Foods (PF), with brands like Duncan Hines and Birds Eye, impresses investors with its earnings, separating itself from the swath of consumer companies that posted lackluster results recently and sending its shares up 6%. "We continued to navigate the challenging environment quite well," CEO Mark Clouse tells investors. The industry, "at least on the surface, looks weaker in early 2017," he says. "As you know, there's no shortage of theories attempting to explain what has caused the slowdown. I believe that the recent softness has been driven by several factors, none of which alone are large enough to fully account for it but collectively, I believe, these factors have had an impact." He said a later Easter, warmer winter and increases in ecommerce all played roles. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Starbucks Misses Growth Expectations in U.S. Stores

Starbucks Corp. still hasn't made good on its pledge to return its critical U.S. business to 5% same-store sales growth.

The coffee giant missed sales expectations again in its home market and globally, with sales up 3% overall and in the U.S. in its second quarter. Analysts were expecting 3.7% growth globally and 3.5% in the Americas, of which the U.S. is by far the largest market.

Shares fell 3.6% to $59.09 in after-hours trading.

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Leap on Nafta Uncertainty

CHICAGO--Livestock futures leaped on Thursday as traders took stock of the Trump administration's shifting position on trade with its neighbors.

Concern that the U.S. could leave the North American Free Trade Agreement if Mexico and Canada were unwilling to renegotiate the deal has roiled livestock trading this week. Prices rose Thursday after the White House said it did not plan on leaving the agreement soon, though some market participants continued to bet defensively.

Lean hog futures for June delivery rose 2.9% to 72.825 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, while April live cattle futures rose 2.7% to $1.356 a pound.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $34.00 - Apr 27

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $34.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $35.00-$37.00, 400-450 pounds are at $35.00-$37.00, 450-500 pounds are $35.00-$37.00 and those over 500 pounds are $39.00-$41.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 150 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Apr 27

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Apr 27 +$31.82 +$27.34

Apr 26 +$33.09 +$26.74

Apr 25 +$36.42 +$27.71

* 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 100.3

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 98.2

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday fell 3 cents per hundred pounds, to $219.15, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 96 cents per hundred pounds, to $206.68. The total load count was 106. Wholesale pork prices rose 28 cents, to $73.12 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 27, 2017 17:45 ET (21:45 GMT)