LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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'Pink Slime' Defamation Trial Set to Begin -- Market Talk

10:07 ET - Opening statements in what could be the largest defamation case in US history are set to begin in a South Dakota courtroom. In suing ABC News for its coverage of a widely used processed-meat product that the news organization and others have branded "pink slime," Beef Products Inc. claims it was a victim of a journalistic hit job. The family-owned South Dakota meat processor claims the reporting reduced its revenues. Raising the stakes is a state food-disparagement law that allows prevailing plaintiffs to triple actual damages. Beef Products has alleged $1.9B in damages. That means, in theory, ABC could be hit with a nearly $6B judgment, not including any potential punitive damages awarded if it were to lose. ABC, a unit of Walt Disney (DIS), says it never reported anything about the beef that it knew to be a lie and contends Beef Products is trying to punish it for making reasonable editorial judgments. (jacob.gershman@wsj.com)

Domino's is Boycotting JBS Products in Brazil -- Market Talk

15:20 ET - The Brazilian unit of Domino's Pizza is boycotting JBS SA products after owners of the giant meatpacker admitted they paid millions of dollars to politicians in exchange for favors, including easy access to cheap credit. In a note posted to the Domino's Facebook page late Friday and confirmed Monday by a Domino's spokesperson, the chain says it values ethics and transparency. (luciana.magalhaes@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Corn Condition Improves; Spring Wheat Declines -- Market Talk

16:20 ET - Farmers have almost completed planting this year's corn crop, which improved in condition from the previous week, according to a USDA report. The agency says 96% of this year's corn was in the ground as of Sunday, while 68% of that was in good or excellent condition. That's up from a 65% good-or-excellent rating last week and above analyst estimates, but still lagging last year. Some sunshine after a wet planting season in the Midwest has helped the crop, analysts say. Spring wheat rated good or excellent declined markedly, however, to 55% from 62% last week as hot, dry conditions build in parts of the Dakotas. Analysts were expecting to see a decline of around 1 percentage point. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

China Huishan Dairy's Latest Headache: Missing Millions

BEIJING--One of China's largest dairies says it is missing most of its cash and has fallen more deeply in debt, further clouding its future following the disappearance of its treasurer and the departure of nine of its 10 board members.

China Huishan Dairy Holdings Co., which says it operates the largest number of dairy farms in China, said Monday in a regulatory filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange that it should have had about 2.9 billion yuan ($426 million) in cash and cash equivalents as of March 31.

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Gain on Profitable Packing Margins

CHICAGO--Cattle futures climbed Monday while hogs slid, as traders bet that wide beef packer margins would keep prices in the cattle market high.

The HedgersEdge beef packer index was at $135.45 a head on Monday, compared with standard pork processing margins of around $30 a head. That extra profitability would allow packers to put more money into the cash trade for cattle, analysts said.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $46.00 - Jun 5

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are

steady at $46.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are $2.00-$3.00 lower. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are

$37.00-$39.00, 400-450 pounds are at $37.00-$39.00, 450-500 pounds are

$37.00-$39.00 and those over 500 pounds are $41.00-$43.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 200 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jun 5

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Jun 5 +$26.42 +$ 64.47

Jun 2 +$30.79 +$ 65.27

Jun 1 +$29.67 +$ 64.67

* 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 111.2

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 109.0

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Monday rose $3.11 per hundred pounds, to $248.35, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $1.38 per hundred pounds, to $219.44. The total load count was 123. Wholesale pork prices fell 37 cents, to $90.39 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 05, 2017 17:41 ET (21:41 GMT)