LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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China Visit Has US Chicken Country Hopeful -- Market Talk

12:08 ET - A planned June visit from a Chinese delegation to US chicken plants has some in the industry hopeful that the meat-hungry country will reopen to US-raised poultry. China shut down US chicken shipments in 2015 as bird flu outbreaks spread across the upper Midwest, but Sanderson Farms (SAFM) execs say on an investor call that the planned visit could lead to China changing its policy to restricting chicken exports from specific regions of the US, versus a blanket policy for the entire country. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Too Many Turkeys Bedevil Hormel -- Market Talk

9:39 ET - Hormel Foods (HRL) says an overabundance of turkeys helped push its 2Q profits 2% below last year's levels and will weigh on its turkey business for the remainder of this year. Prices for breast meat and other products have hovered around seven-year lows, CEO Jim Snee says on investor call, and competing turkey players are also churning out deli meat and whole birds at a rapid clip. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Pork Plant Parade Shouldn't Swamp Hog Prices -- Market Talk

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9:52 ET - The US pork industry is gearing up for major expansion, with new plants coming online or ramping up in Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota, but Spam maker Hormel Foods (HRL) doesn't expect that to meaningfully boost prices for hogs. Even though more slaughterhouses will be competing for hogs to process, Hormel executives believe farmers' efforts to expand their herds work out to sufficient supply to go around. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Senate Witnesses Silent on Trump's Budget for Ag -- Market Talk

12:02 ET - It's crickets from a panel of agricultural economists, a USDA official and industry leader when asked during a Senate hearing whether anyone would defend the Trump administration's budget as good for agriculture. For some, that's because the budget proposes slashing funding for the US food-stamp program, which Bruce Weber of Oregon State University says not only provides a vital safety net for hungry Americans, but also supports farm incomes by boosting demand for agricultural products. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Brazil's JBS Gains On Rumors it Might Shed Assets -- Market Talk

14:16 ET - Shares of Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA were up 13% in Sao Paulo, trading at 7.58 reais, on speculation that it might shed assets. The gains follow media reports that its holding company hired a local bank to sell some of the group's assets. JBS's holding firm, J&F, however, has denied the reports. (luciana.magalhaes@wsj.com)

Amazon Opens First Physical Grocery Store -- Market Talk

11:44 ET - Amazon's (AMZN) Fresh Pickup grocery stores are opening to customers in Seattle today, marking the online retail giant's first public foray into brick-and-mortar groceries. Previously, the two Seattle locations were only available in beta testing for employees. AMZN has been eyeing a bigger portion of the US grocery spend, which has been hard to crack online in part due to consumers' preference of touching and smelling fruit and other fresh produce before making a purchase. (laura.stevens@wsj.com, @laurastevenswsj)

FUTURES MARKET

Livestock Futures Strengthen Ahead of Memorial Day Weekend

CHICAGO--Livestock futures inched higher on Thursday, reversing course after a mixed start to the trading session. Cash prices for cattle so far this week are lower than previous weeks, though they remain at a considerable premium to futures. That's helping to anchor cattle futures and prevent them from falling sharply as the market enters a seasonal slump. Live cattle futures for June delivery rose 1.5% to $1.23925 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Thursday. Feeder cattle futures for August delivery also rose.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $46.00 - May 25

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $46.00 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 100 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - May 25

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

May 25 +$30.85 +$62.17

May 24 +$32.51 +$61.27

May 23 +$33.58 +$62.62

* 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 110.2

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 105.9

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday rose 3 cents per hundred pounds, to $246.11, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 62 cents per hundred pounds, to $218.98. The total load count was 111. Wholesale pork prices rose 42 cents, to $89.32 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 25, 2017 17:44 ET (21:44 GMT)