LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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Brazil Jails Meatpacking Moguls -- WSJ

SAO PAULO -- The two Brazilian brothers behind the world's largest meatpacker were in jail on Wednesday facing accusations they illegally profited from an earlier plea deal that let them skirt prison time for bribing nearly 2,000 politicians.

The Federal Police -- Brazil's equivalent to the FBI -- on Wednesday arrested Wesley Batista, CEO of JBS SA, saying he and his brother, former chairman Joesley Batista, dumped the company's shares and stockpiled U.S. dollars before the deal they reached with prosecutors in April became public. This enabled them to make millions of dollars as their allegations of having bribed members of conservative President Michel Temer's inner circle nearly toppled the government and sent financial markets swooning, federal agents said.

More Traffic At Biggest Customer Helps United Natural -- Market Talk

11:32 ET - United Natural Foods (UNFI) up more than 9% on F4Q earnings that showed traffic improvements at the food distributor's biggest customer, Whole Foods. UNFI sales in the Whole Foods channel were up 6.8% in the quarter--the strongest pace in six quarters--writes BMO. Those improvements happened before Amazon (AMZN) completed its merger with the natural grocer, and UNFI could see additional upside, but uncertainty remains over the distributor's long-term fate. "We question whether the Whole Foods supply agreement is truly binding," writes Pivotal Research. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

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Dole Food Exploring a Sale

Dole Food Co. is exploring a sale, months after filing to go public, said people familiar with the matter.

The first round of bids for the Westlake Village, Calif.-based fruit and vegetable producer were due last week, the people said, adding that private-equity firms are among those that have expressed interest in Dole Food.

STORIES OF INTEREST

Amazon to Drive Whole Foods Revenue -- Market Talk

10:43 ET - How are Amazon's (AMZN) changes at Whole Foods expected to play out? Morgan Stanley estimates Whole Foods' revenue will grow at a 12% compounded annual growth rate over the next five years, bringing the health food grocery chain to 3% of the total US grocery market. The analysts predict growth from better pricing and convenience, in part because 70% of shoppers who don't shop there list price as the reason why. (laura.stevens@wsj.com; @laurastevenswsj)

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Turn Lower on Mixed Cash Market

Cattle futures gave back early gains to close lower as traders waited for a price trend to emerge in the cash market.

A limited number of slaughter-ready cattle had traded in the week's cash market as of Thursday's session. Meatpackers bought a couple of thousand head of cattle for $105.60 per 100 pounds live and $165 dressed on Wednesday, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $35.00 - Sep 14

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $35.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $30.00-$32.00, 400-450 pounds are at $30.00-$32.00, 450-500 pounds are $30.00-$32.00 and those over 500 pounds are $35.00-$37.00.

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 - Sep 14

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Sep 14 +$48.74 +$39.81

Sep 13 +$47.73 +$40.95

Sep 12 +$45.82 +$41.47

* 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 102.3

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 103.0

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday rose 60 cents per hundred pounds, to $191.00, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.97 per hundred pounds, to $186.72. The total load count was 199. Wholesale pork prices fell 53 cents, to $78.92 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 14, 2017 17:36 ET (21:36 GMT)