LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Potbelly Hangs Up For Sale Sign -- Market Talk

07:52 ET - Sandwich-seller Potbelly (PBPB) is undertaking a comprehensive review of its business strategy that could include a sale of the company. PBPB says the restaurant operating environment remains challenging and that it will look at its capital structure, returns on invested capital, productivity, marketing, the pace of store growth, capital expenditures and ways to accelerate franchising. Shares have dropped about 15% this year. PBPB also announces 2Q results that miss analyst expectations. Shares are off 3.7% pre-market. (austen.hufford@wsj.com; @austenhufford

Mexico's Lala Seen Overpaying for Brazil's Vigor -- Market Talk

13:00 ET - Grupo Lala (LALAB.MX) is sharply lower after the Mexican dairy producer confirms its planned $1.8B acquisition of Brazil's Vigor, which it will finance with debt and about $550M in new shares. Analysts frown at the acquisition price of 17.4 times Vigor's estimated 2017 Ebitda. Lala is overpaying, but "there might be some light at the end of the tunnel," Barclays says. "While in the short term we believe it will be more negative for Lala than positive, in general we are not opposed to the idea of expanding in potentially attractive markets (like Brazil) at times when expectations are low." Lala shares were recently off 5.5% on the Mexican stock exchange. (anthony.harrup@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Corn Futures Rise After Week of Losses

Corn and spring wheat futures crept higher on lingering concerns about the condition of those crops, while soybeans steadied.

Despite a positive turn in U.S. weather forecasts, problem areas remain for crops. The Commodity Weather Group said Friday morning that portions of Midwestern corn and soybean growing areas would be on the dry side through mid-August, despite beneficial cooler temperatures. Meanwhile, drought conditions in the northern Plains and parts of Canada continue to damage spring wheat.

School Lunch Shopping Feeds Cattle Market -- Market Talk

11:55 ET - Cattle futures are mixed, but school lunch buying is set to give livestock trading "a shot in the arm," says Don Roose of US Commodities. Government purchasing of pork, beef and chicken for students' lunches in the fall will increase consumption and bolster the overall meats sector. Hog futures, meanwhile, are running a wider-than-normal discount to the cash market. Analysts are waiting to see whether wholesale pork and cash prices will "drop to come in line with the futures," Roose says. CME August live cattle futures are up 0.1% to $1.15375 a pound, while later-month contracts fall. CME August lean hog futures climb 1.5% to 83.175 cents a pound. (quint.forgey@dowjones.com; @QuintForgey)

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Notch Gains for the Week

Hog futures brushed off supply pressures to close higher, locking in gains for the week.

Analysts say the spread between front- and later-month futures, cash-market hog prices and the cost of wholesale pork has become unusually wide. Though cash and pork prices have trended lower for the most part, they remain at a premium to futures.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Aug 4

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Aug 4 +$26.40 +$ 75.11

Aug 3 +$26.88 +$ 77.18

Aug 2 +$29.00 +$ 77.72

* 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 102.2

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 102.9

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell $1.55 per hundred pounds, to $203.61, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 47 cents per hundred pounds, to $197.31. The total load count was 109. Wholesale pork prices fell 96 cents, to $95.34 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 04, 2017 17:13 ET (21:13 GMT)