LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Darden: Price Competitiveness More Important Than Ever -- Market Talk

09:44 ET - At Darden, which reported weaker-than-expected fiscal 1Q sales growth at its Olive Garden chain, "Value has never been more important," CEO Gene Lee tells investors. "There's a lot of competition for the discretionary dollar." Lee says restaurants compete not only with each other but with every place that sells food and that he expects the current tight food spending environment to remain this way for the foreseeable future. The company says it plans to raise prices only between 1% and 2% this year. Darden shares off 4.5% in early trading. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

Syngenta Moves to Settle Farmers' GMO Corn Cases -- Market Talk

13:15 ET - Swiss crop seed maker Syngenta says it struck a deal to settle hundreds of lawsuits filed by US farmers over the company's 2011 release of genetically engineered corn seeds. Chinese import authorities began rejecting that corn in 2013 because it wasn't yet approved there, which farmers allege closed off China's market to US corn and depressed grain prices. Syngenta, which had fought the charges, says the courts still need to approve the settlement and establish a fund for it, and the company's not yet disclosing the size of any payout to farmers. Plaintiffs' lawyers have no immediate comment. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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South Africa Corn Exports Surge After Record Crop -- Market Talk

1644 GMT - South Africa returns to being a net corn exporter, after good rains boosted yields, enabling Africa's top producer of the grain to recover from the devastating effects of last year's drought, says the US Department of Agriculture Bureau in Pretoria. After importing some 2.2M tons of corn last year, the first imports in 8 years, South Africa may export some 2.5M tons of corn in 2016-17. Cumulative 4-month corn exports hit 1.2M tons in the crop year which started in May and the country could have up to 4.5M tons of corn stock available for export. Total production is expected to more than double on year and hit a record 17.1M tons.(nicholas.bariyo@wsj.com; @Nicholasbariyo)

Wheat Futures Find Technical Strength -- Market Talk

10:39 ET - Wheat futures bounce on technical support. Traders are spreading wheat against soybeans, says Doug Bergman of RCM Alternatives, which is helping grain prices higher even as oilseed falls. CBOT December wheat futures rise 1.2% to $4.59 1/2 a bushel. Prices have technical support at current levels, Bergman says, with resistance at $4.63. CBOT November soybean futures fall 0.7% to $9.64 1/4 a bushel. December corn contracts rise 0.2% to $3.54 1/2. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

FUTURES MARKETS

Weakness in Cattle Futures Continues, Hogs Mixed

Cattle futures extended losses as traders continued to take stock of increases in supply expected early next year.

Live cattle contracts for October fell 0.9% to $1.08275 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Tuesday. Front-month September feeder cattle futures rose 0.1% to $1.50575 a pound while later months fell.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog $1.00 Lower At $30.00 - Sep 26

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are $1.00 lower at $30.00 per hundredweight. Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing under 450 pounds are $27.00-$28.00, 400-450 pounds are at $27.00-$28.00, 450-500 pounds are $27.00-$28.00 and those over 500 pounds are $29.00-$30.00.

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 26

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

*

Sep 25 +$48.98 +$ 27.19

Sep 22 +$44.76 +$ 25.49

Sep 21 +$44.76 +$ 26.61

* 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 105.3

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 108.0

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday rose $2.82 per hundred pounds, to $196.78, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $2.22 per hundred pounds, to $193.11. The total load count was 105. Wholesale pork prices fell 88 cents, to $72.17 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 26, 2017 17:41 ET (21:41 GMT)