LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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Hormel Foods Buys Fontanini Brand Meats for $425 Million

Hormel Foods Corp. said Thursday it has bought the Fontanini brand meat and sausage business for $425 million.

Hormel, the maker of Spam canned pork and Skippy peanut butter, said it has acquired Fontanini Italian Meats and Sausages from privately held Capitol Wholesale Meats Inc. The Chicago-based business sells branded meat products such as pizza toppings and meatballs.

Food Distributor Sees Chain Restaurant Saturation -- Market Talk

9:38 ET - Performance Food Group (PFGC) executives foresee more closures in casual dining chains, citing too many locations for the number of diners. "There's too many restaurants and too many seats in that casual dining area," says George Holm during an earnings call. "They're getting self-corrected.... people are closing stores." (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

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STORIES OF INTEREST

World Had 2nd Warmest July on Record -- Market Talk

11:43 ET - In news of note for power grid managers, water resource planners and agricultural producers, federal climate analysts today report that this past July is the second warmest worldwide in their 138 years of global record-keeping. In a regular assessment of world climate trends, they say that the globally averaged temperature over land and ocean surfaces for the month was 1.49[deg]F above the 20th century average of 60.4[deg]F, just behind 2016 by 0.09[deg]F. It marks the 41st consecutive July and the 391st consecutive month with temperatures at least nominally above the 20th century average. (lee.hotz@wsj.com; @leHotz)

Soybean Futures Climb on Export Strength

Soybean futures rose on higher-than-expected export sales and renewed concerns about a rain shortage.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that the U.S. sold 1.35 million metric tons of soybeans for the 2016-17 and 2017-18 crop years. That was above the high end of pre-report estimates. The USDA also reported on Thursday morning optional origin sales of 165,000 tons of soybeans to China for 2017-18, meaning the oilseed could come from a source other than the U.S.

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Drop to 2017 Low

Cattle futures fell to the lowest close this year as cash-market prices tumbled amid a boost in slaughter-ready cattle supplies.

Meatpackers bought cattle for $1.10 a pound live in Kansas and the western Corn Belt, along with dressed sales between $1.75 and $1.77 a pound. Prices fell sharply from last week, when sales averaged at $1.15 a pound live and $1.84 a pound dressed.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $50.00 - Aug 17

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

are steady at $50.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are lower. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $54.00-$56.00,

400-450 pounds are at $54.00-$56.00, 450-500 pounds are $54.00-$56.00 and

those over 500 pounds are $60.00-$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 - Aug 17

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Aug 17 +$28.01 +$ 66.06

Aug 16 +$25.13 +$ 66.15

Aug 15 +$29.07 +$ 71.12

* 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 96.9

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 100.8

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday fell $1.88 per hundred pounds, to $195.63, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 84 cents per hundred pounds, to $194.20. The total load count was 167. Wholesale pork prices fell 4 cents, to $91.13 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 17, 2017 17:18 ET (21:18 GMT)