LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Rising Grain Prices Not Pressuring Meatpackers, Yet -- Market Talk

10:09 ET - Recent rallies in the price of corn and soybean meal--key ingredients in livestock feed--have ruffled feathers among investors in meat companies. Vertical Group analysts downplay that, noting that per-bushel prices for corn are likely to remain below $4.50 barring an unusually hot and dry August, while cheap grain remains abundant in South America and elsewhere, helping keep a lid on feed prices. Vertical Group sticks with "buy" ratings on the two biggest US chicken processors, Tyson Foods (TSN) and Pilgrim's Pride (PPC), which gain 1.6% and 2.2% in early trading. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Grocery Sales Still Sluggish -- Market Talk

11:46 ET - June sales remain flat at supermarket chains, the latest in a nearly year-long stretch of tepid transactions at grocers. While the price and mix of transactions were up 3% year-over-year, volumes of food purchased "remained challenging" and were down by 3.2% from June 2016 levels, writes BMO Capital Markets. Commodity deflation does seem to be easing after a record stretch, a potential benefit to grocers this year, the firm says. (heather.haddon@wsj.com, @heatherhaddon)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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General Mills Partners With Amazon On E-Commerce -- Market Talk

14:09 ET - General Mills (GIS) says it's partnering with Amazon (AMZN) to change how people shop for food online, particularly with regard to ordering by voice using Amazon's Alexa technology. GIS says it's "mission critical" to get e-commerce right because there is an unusually high rate of loyalty. Shoppers can see past purchases, so they tend to go back to the same online retailer and brands they bought the first time, says General Mills' executive Shawn O'Grady. "That's like walking into the store and having everything you bought last time in your cart automatically." Winning that "first basket," he said, is a major advantage. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

Whole Foods Skips Investor Update -- Market Talk

15:23 ET - Investors won't get additional insights into Whole Foods' (WFM) merger with Amazon (AMZN) later this month as the natural grocer is skipping an investor call in its next earnings. The company will release 3Q earnings on July 26 after the market closes without its traditional call "in view of the merger agreement with Amazon," the company announces. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Climb on Grain Supply

Cattle futures rose to their upper daily limits on Wednesday as feed prices dipped on government supply-and-demand figures.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its projections for domestic and global corn stocks above expectations. That helped send futures contracts for the grain, a crucial component of cattle feed, down 4% and lowered costs for commercial feedlots to fatten their cattle.

Feeder cattle futures for August delivery bounced 4 1/2 cents, or 3.1%, to $1.5175 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hitting a month-high and the upper end of its daily trading band.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $57.00 - Jul 12

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $57.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $59.00, 400-450 pounds are at $59.00, 450-500 pounds are $59.00 and those over 500 pounds are $61.00-$63.00.

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 - Jul 12

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Jul 12 +$32.77 +$95.69

Jul 11 +$31.41 +$95.52

Jul 10 +$30.72 +$94.94

* 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.

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Beef

For Today Choice 101.9

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 101.7

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday fell $2.55 per hundred pounds, to $212.69, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.78 per hundred pounds, to $198.73. The total load count was 187. Wholesale pork prices rose 8 cents, to $104.91 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 12, 2017 17:41 ET (21:41 GMT)