LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Darden To Keep Menu Price Increases Below Inflation -- Market Talk

9:50 ET - Darden's (DRI) sales outperformance -- Olive Garden posted 4.4% same-store sales growth in its fiscal 4Q -- was driven in part by pricing below both inflation and competitors and by simplifying its operations. The restaurant company says it plans to continue pricing below inflation, which means it will rely less and less on average check to fuel same-store sales growth. The company tells investors it expects total inflation of 2% in the next fiscal year and that it expects to raise menu prices by 1% to 2%. Consumers, CEO Gene Lee said, are "looking for everyday value." DRI gains 3.2% to $92.94. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

Wheat, Corn and Soybeans End Higher As Crops Disappoint

Grains and soybeans ended higher Tuesday after the condition of U.S. crops disappointed traders.

CBOT Corn for July rose slightly to end up 0.7% at $3.59 a bushel, soybeans for July were up 0.5% at $9.11 a bushel and wheat rose 0.7% to $4.53 a bushel for July.

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STORIES OF INTEREST

California to List Weedkiller as Cancer-Causing -- Market Talk

15:29 ET - California on July 7 will add glyphosate -- the key chemical in Monsanto's (MON) widely used Roundup weedkiller -- to its list of chemicals known to the state to cause cancer, according to a notice from the state's Office of Environmental Heath Hazard Assessment. Monsanto has challenged the move in court, arguing that California's decision relies on a flawed assessment of scientific research by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, which in 2015 deemed glyphosate probably has the potential to cause cancer. Monsanto lost a court decision in the matter, and though the company's appealed, there's been no court order to delay the California listing. Monsanto, citing reviews of U.S. and European chemical regulators that found no cancer link for glyphosate, says it will continue to fight California's move. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Mexico Conditions Dow Chemical-Dupont Merger -- Market Talk

14:44 ET - Mexico's antitrust commission conditioned approval of the merger of Dow Chemical and Dupont in Mexico to the sale of certain Dupont insecticides and Dow plastics -- accepting as an "ideal measure" Dow's February agreement to sell its global copolymers and ionomers business to Korea's SK Global Chemical Co. Under its original terms, the merger would have risked hurting competition and pushing up prices in those markets, says the Federal Competition Commission, which conducted its analysis in cooperation with antitrust authorities in the U.S. and Europe. Dow and Dupont this month secured clearance from the DOJ, and expect the merger to close in August. (anthony.harrup@wsj.com)

Now China-Owned, Syngenta Aims for Growth -- Market Talk

11:37 ET - Swiss pesticide and seed supplier Syngenta aims to reassert itself in global agricultural markets, now that it's completed its sale to China National Chemical. Executives say at a Basel event that Syngenta is considering seed deals in an effort to "become and ambitious number three in seeds" -- in the rapidly consolidating ag industry, Syngenta is counting on the heft ChemChina will add as the Swiss company competes with Bayer (BAYRY), which is in the process of buying top global seed developer Monsanto (MON), and the combined agricultural businesses of Dow Chemical (DOW) and DuPont (DD), which aim to seal their own merger in August, creating another industry behemoth. Those deals will yield divestitures, which could help Syngenta bulk up in seeds and crop genes. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Drops As Market Prepares For Summer Lull

Livestock futures ended lower Tuesday following Monday's limit up day in the cattle market. The market is now preparing for a seasonal lull that typically occurs after July 4th weekend as meat demand dies down.

CME live cattle for June was off 1.5% at $1.196 a pound and lean hogs for July fell 0.6% to 86.475 cents a pound.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $55.00 - Jun 27

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $55.00 per hundredweight. Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $49.00-$50.00, 400-450 pounds are at $49.00-$50.00, 450-500 pounds are $49.00-$50.00 and those over 500 pounds are $52.00-$54.00.

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 - Jun 27

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

*

Jun 27 +$28.19 +$ 89.22

Jun 26 +$23.91 +$ 85.41

Jun 23 +$25.00 +$ 86.08

* 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 109.4

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 108.8

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday fell $4.66 per hundred pounds, to $233.91, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $2.40 per hundred pounds, to $215.26. The total load count was 128. Wholesale pork prices rose $1.77, to $101.90 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 27, 2017 17:41 ET (21:41 GMT)