LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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Cattle Futures Reverse, Lower After On-Feed Report -- Market Talk

12:53 ET - Cattle futures are reversing course to turn lower as the USDA's cattle-on-feed report exceeds expectations. Total cattle-on-feed as of May 1 were at 102% of last year, cattle placed in April were at 111% of last year and cattle marketed as of April 1 were at 103% of last year. Analysts surveyed by WSJ had expected the total number of cattle on feed as of May 1 at 100.8% of year-ago levels, with placements in April at 106.5% and cattle marketed at 101.8% of the previous year. Troy Vetterkind at Vetterkind Cattle Brokerage says he wouldn't sell futures at this level as cash prices are much higher and likely won't converge until the last two weeks of the contract month. (julie.wernau@wsj.com)

Embattled JBS Exec Resigns from Pilgrim's Board -- Market Talk

16:48 ET - Joesley Batista, the embattled chairman of Brazilian meatpacking giant JBS SA, resigns as a director of US chicken processor Pilgrim's Pride (PPC). It's been a tumultuous month for Batista, who is deeply enmeshed in a Brazilian corruption probe that has led to bribery allegations involving Brazil's past three presidents; JBS also faces multiple probes related to recent trading activities. Pilgrim's, the second-largest processor of chicken meat in the US, appointed JBS's global marketing president Tarek Farahat to replace Batista on its board, noting in an SEC filing that Farahat has "no family relationships" with anyone else on the company's board or management team. Pilgrim's shares are down 9.2% over the past month. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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CEOs Urge Donald Trump to Limit Scope of Nafta Changes to an 'Update' -- Update

A group of top CEOs has a message for President Donald Trump: Move quickly on an update of the North American Free Trade Agreement but don't mess with the underlying structure.

In a letter to the White House, the top executives of 32 major companies emphasized the benefits they currently get from Nafta. However, they said, they are willing to work with the administration on a "modernization" of the deal that keeps its three-way structure with Mexico and Canada, rather than on an overhaul that starts from scratch.

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Closes Lower on Robust Placements; Hogs Rise

Cattle futures reversed course to turn lower as the USDA cattle-on-feed report exceeded expectations. Still cash prices remained strong headed into Memorial Day weekend when grills are expected to fire up the livestock markets.

Total cattle-on-feed as of May 1 were at 102% of last year, cattle placed in April were at 111% of last year and cattle marketed as of April 1 were at 103% of last year.

In other markets, June lean hogs rose 1.1% to end at 81.875 cents a pound. Friday's kill was projected at just 423,000 with the Saturday kill at 3,000. Dennis Smith, an analyst at Archer Financials said cash hogs prices were steady to higher during a time when kill numbers are expected to tighten.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - May 26

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

May 26 +$34.46 +$63.03

May 25 +$30.85 +$62.17

May 24 +$32.51 +$61.27

* 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 109.9

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 106.5

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell 51 cents per hundred pounds, to $245.60, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 53 cents per hundred pounds, to $218.45. The total load count was 103. Wholesale pork prices rose 40 cents, to $89.72 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 26, 2017 17:31 ET (21:31 GMT)