LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Venezuelan Food Prices Surged in a Year -- Market Talk

12:29 ET - Venezuelan food prices climbed on average 406% in August, compared with the same month a year ago, according to Cenda. The research group tracks inflation since the government began withholding official data in 2015 because of the hobbled economy. Some staples like sugar and cooking oil have seen prices jump by more than 800% during the same period, Cenda says. Prices are likely to continue rising at a rapid clip with President Maduro last week announcing a large hike in minimum wage for the sixth time in a year, a move that economists say pushes Venezuela deeper into hyperinflation. (kejal.vyas@wsj.com)

Pizza Hut Planning Delivery-Only Format -- Market Talk

14:05 ET - Pizza Hut was the focus of a Yum Brands investor meeting in Dallas on Thursday that was open only to analysts, according to those who attended. The brand's struggling US business is poised for a turnaround, the company told analysts. Pizza Hut franchisees recently signed a "transformation agreement" that includes national pricing, plans to convert dine-in restaurants to delivery-only formats, a customer loyalty program and new pizza pouches that keep pizza 15 degrees hotter during delivery. The new pouches are "the biggest improvement to our food in years," executives told analysts. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Coming Soon to McDonald's Happy Meals: Organic, Watered-Down Juice -- Update

McDonald's Corp. is dropping the Minute Maid apple juice box from its Happy Meals and replacing it with a watered-down, organic juice with less sugar made by Honest Kids.

The change, set for November, is the latest step in the evolution of the Happy Meal toward healthier options and one that shows how shifting consumer tastes have prompted Coca-Cola Co., which owns both Minute Maid and Honest Kids, to broaden its portfolio of beverages to include lower-calorie options.

Amazon More Likely to Buy Tesco Than Ocado, Says HSBC -- Market Talk

1121 GMT - Amazon.com Inc is more likely to buy U.K. supermarket chain Tesco PLC in an overseas expansion drive than online specialist Ocado PLC because Ocado doesn't have shops, says HSBC. The investment bank remains skeptical about Ocado's long-term outlook, particularly after Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods Market Inc. Amazon's decision to buy a bricks-and-mortar retailer suggests it thinks pure online "is not the way to go", says HSBC. A deal with Ocado could appeal to retailers in some countries wanting to boost their online profile to fend off possible competition from Amazon. Still, HSBC adds: "We believe Amazon's move suggests Ocado is less likely to be a potential acquisition target for it and that Tesco might be considered." Ocado shares fall 0.3% to 297 pence. Tesco shares down 0.68%. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

Hog Futures Rise on Bouncing Belly Prices

Hog futures rose over 3% to end the week, helped by sharply higher pork belly prices.

Volatility in belly prices has significantly influenced hog futures this year. Wholesale prices climbed over $10 to $114.21 per 100 pounds on Friday morning, a sharp turnaround after bellies lost about half their value since peaking at a record in late July. Analysts say high prices stifled demand when they trickled down to consumers.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Sep 15

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Sep 15 +$45.92 +$36.46

Sep 14 +$48.74 +$39.81

Sep 13 +$47.73 +$40.95

* 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 103.0

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 103.1

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose 42 cents per hundred pounds, to $191.42, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 87 cents per hundred pounds, to $185.85. The total load count was 115. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.56, to $77.36 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 15, 2017 17:34 ET (21:34 GMT)