LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Falling Yogurt Sales Drag General Mills' Earnings

Yoplait yogurt is spoiling General Mills Inc.'s sales.

The company said its U.S. yogurt sales fell 22%, pushing it to its ninth straight quarter of revenue declines.

In the latest quarter, which ended in August, General Mills' global sales fell 3.5% to $3.77 billion. On a comparable basis, revenue was down 4%, worse than its projected 1% to 2% decline for the fiscal year, which ends in May.

Albertsons to Buy Meal-Kit Company Plated

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Albertsons Cos. is buying the Plated meal-kit service, the first acquisition of a prepared-meals company by a national grocery chain as supermarkets scramble to keep shoppers coming to their stores.

The New York-based Plated, which does business as DineInFresh Inc., will operate as a subsidiary of the U.S.'s second largest grocery chain, the companies said. Customers will be able to buy a rotating selection of meals like chicken Marsala with roasted potatoes and feta-stuffed lamb burgers for delivery or pickup at Albertsons stores in coming months. They currently cost $10 to $12 a serving.

Animal-Protection Groups Decry Meat Plant Speed Up -- Market Talk

11:55 ET - Animal welfare groups call on the USDA to deny US meat companies' request to run chicken processing plants faster, arguing that higher speeds translate to less control over key plant functions that increase the risk of workers getting hurt and chickens being treated inhumanely. "There are limits to the speed at which humans and equipment can function," and there have already been "thousands" of incidents where improper plant controls resulted in chickens' rough handling or killing, according to the letter from the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute and other groups. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Panera CEO Calls for Rethink of Kids' Meals -- Market Talk

9:02 ET - Panera Bread's Ron Shaich is issuing a challenge to fellow restaurant CEOs to eat the meals they sell to children, exclusively, for seven days straight. Shaich, who has previously criticized fast-food chains for serving non-nutritious food to children, says he wants fellow restaurant leaders, such as McDonald's, to evaluate what they serve to kids. Panera is also expanding its kids' meal options to allow children to choose a half-sized version of any of its regular menu items. "As an industry, we need to rethink how we feed our smallest guests," he said in an interview. MCD has been making its Happy Meals healthier in recent years and plans in November to replace the Minute Maid apple juice boxes with an organic, diluted apple juice from Honest Kids. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Hit Six-Week High

Cattle futures touched their upper daily limit on Wednesday, hitting a six-week high as cash-market prices rose.

Meatpackers bought 636 head of cattle at the weekly online Fed Cattle Exchange on Wednesday morning for an average of $106.67 per 100 pounds, up from $104.75 last week. That was also higher than last week's total cash trade average of $105.84, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady At $33.00 - Sep 20

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $33.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $26.00-$28.00, 400-450 pounds are at $26.00-$28.00, 450-500 pounds are $26.00-$28.00 and those over 500 pounds are $30.00-$32.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 200 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Sep 20

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Sep 20 +$49.54 +$33.08

Sep 19 +$47.92 +$33.32

Sep 18 +$48.46 +$36.11

* 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 103.5

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 105.2

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday fell 7 cents per hundred pounds, to $192.04, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 31 cents per hundred pounds, to $188.52. The total load count was 176. Wholesale pork prices fell 15 cents, to $75.75 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 20, 2017 17:39 ET (21:39 GMT)