LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

Continue Reading Below

Bayer, Monsanto's $57 Billion Megadeal Faces Closer EU Scrutiny -- Update

BRUSSELS-- Bayer AG's $57 billion acquisition of Monsanto Co. will undergo an in-depth investigation by the European Union on concerns that the creation of an agrochemicals powerhouse could hurt farmers, throwing into doubt the companies' plans to complete the tie-up by the end of the year.

The European Commission, which has antitrust powers in the EU, on Tuesday said it aimed to complete its review by Jan. 8, 2018, but that date could be pushed back if there are delays or extensions. Regulators rarely complete their analyses well in advance of set deadlines.

STORIES OF INTEREST

Restaurants Have 6th Straight Quarter of Weak Traffic -- Market Talk

Continue Reading Below

12:05 ET - Restaurants experienced declining traffic in the quarter ending June, marking the sixth straight quarter of weak traffic. The restaurant industry has not experienced that many consecutive quarters of no traffic growth since the recession, according to NPD Group. At the same time, the average check grew by 2.6% due to higher menu prices--the largest increase in several years. "No doubt the rising cost of a restaurant meal is weighing heavily on industry traffic performance," NPD restaurant analyst Bonnie Riggs said. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

Wheat Futures Sell Off as Traders Brace for Russian Supplies

Wheat futures fell to the lowest close this year, leading losses in a mixed session for grain and soybean futures.

September wheat futures at the Chicago Board of Trade fell 1.8% to $4.02 1/4 a bushel, the lowest close since late December. Prices have fallen over 25% since peaking in early July.

FUTURES MARKETS

Frozen Pork Belly Stocks Fall in July

Ravenous U.S. appetite for bacon continues to squeeze pork belly stocks.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said stocks of frozen pork bellies in commercial freezers as of July 31 fell to 17.55 million pounds, a record-low for the month. That was down 21% from June and 65% from a year earlier.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $48.00 - Aug 22

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $48.00 per hundredweight. Sow prices are $2.00 lower. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $50.00-$52.00, 400-450 pounds are at $50.00-$52.00, 450-500 pounds are $50.00-$52.00 and those over 500 pounds are $55.00-$57.00.

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 22

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

*

Aug 22 +$31.99 +$ 59.76

Aug 21 +$33.56 +$ 63.27

Aug 18 +$30.01 +$ 63.07

* 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 96.5

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 98.6

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday fell 6 cents per hundred pounds, to $193.03, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 73 cents per hundred pounds, to $190.89. The total load count was 137. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.63, to $88.20 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 22, 2017 17:14 ET (21:14 GMT)