LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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Glencore Makes Takeover Approach to Bunge -- 4th Update

Glencore PLC said Tuesday it has approached grain trader Bunge Ltd. about a merger, a deal that would make the Swiss mining giant a major player in the U.S. agriculture market.

In confirming the approach, Glencore said there is no certainty such a combination will materialize. If a deal does emerge, it would be substantial: Bunge had a market value earlier Tuesday of nearly $10 billion; including debt, its so-called enterprise value was about $15 billion. After The Wall Street Journal first reported on the approach, Bunge shares surged as much as 17%.

Shares of Brazil's JBS Fall, But Selling Pace Slows -- Market Talk

09:32 ET - Shares of Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS SA, implicated in the country's biggest-ever corruption investigation, open 1.3% lower, trading at 5.90 reais ($1.8), after plunging more than 30% Monday in Sao Paulo. Last week, the country's top court released plea-bargain testimony from JBS's owners accusing President Michel Temer and his two predecessors of receiving millions of dollars in bribes. The three presidents have all denied wrongdoing. Temer, who faces increasing pressure to resign amid the allegations, has also accused JBS's chairman, Joesley Batista, of insider trading and of manipulating evidence used against him. Batista has denied the accusations. JBS says its operations are continuing at a normal pace, as set out in its business plan. JBS also says it has a robust financial situation. (Luciana.Magalhaes@wsj.com)

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STORIES OF INTEREST

USDA Boss Warns of Agency Job Cuts -- Market Talk

13:02 ET - "There's no sugarcoating what we will face," USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue tells USDA staff in a video message after the Trump administration unveiled a budget proposal that would slash the agency's budget by around 21%, alongside reductions in Farm Bill program funding. "Such budgetary restrictions could possibly mean a reduction in staff," Perdue warns the USDA's roughly 100,000 employees, saying any reductions would initially come through "normal attrition, early retirements, and other least-disruptive means." Perdue says Trump is following through on campaign pledges to realign government spending, and advises USDA rank and file that "when you get in a bind, don't whine." (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Congressional Leaders Vow Budget Fight For Farmers -- Market Talk

09:24 ET - House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts promise to go to bat for farmers in upcoming debates over a federal budget that proposes slashing funding for certain farm subsidies. "We will fight to ensure farmers have a strong safety net so this key segment of our economy can weather current hard times," the two congressional leaders say. The Trump administration's budget proposal comes while US farm incomes are expected to drop for a fourth straight year, and proposes $38B in spending cuts on subsidies for farmers. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

FUTURES MARKETS

Lower Beef Prices Weigh on Cattle Futures

CHICAGO -- Cattle futures sank Tuesday as lower beef prices spurred bets that the market was unwinding from its seasonal peak.

Wholesale beef prices fell sharply Tuesday morning to $2.46 per pound from a little under $2.48 a pound on Monday. That added pressure to live cattle futures, with June contracts closing 0.7% lower at $1.23075 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. August feeder cattle futures also fell.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $47.00 - May 23

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $47.00 per hundredweight. Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $40.00-$42.00, 400-450 pounds are at $40.00-$42.00, 450-500 pounds are $40.00-$42.00 and those over 500 pounds are $44.00-$46.00.

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 - May 23

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

*

May 23 +$33.58 +$ 62.62

May 22 +$31.86 +$ 59.51

May 19 +$27.56 +$ 56.17

* 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 108.8

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 106.1

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday fell $2.14 per hundred pounds, to $245.74, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.66 per hundred pounds, to $221.17. The total load count was 144. Wholesale pork prices rose $1.45, to $89.53 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 23, 2017 17:44 ET (21:44 GMT)