LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Chipotle Expected to Slow Pace of New Restaurant Openings -- Market Talk

11:53 ET - Chipotle might consider scaling back the number of new restaurant openings until customer traffic improves, says Cowen. The chain has been opening approximately 200 new restaurants per year, which Cowen argues "has proven to be a distraction to turning around sales." The firm believes opening 175 new restaurants next year would be a more reasonable pace. Other restaurants, including Zoe's Kitchen and Potbelly, have also recently announced plans to slow the rate of new restaurant openings in order to focus on improving operations at existing restaurants. Many others have been closing underperforming locations. "We get the sense CMG is prioritizing improving in-store operations over unit growth, leading us to believe 2018 unit development targets are likely to trail street expectations, and potentially ours as well," Cowen says. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

Corn, Wheat Futures Tumble to Month-Low

Grain and soybean futures turned lower on Friday as the prospect of growing supplies stymied buying interest.

Rain in the Midwest in the coming days should slow the speed at which farmers can harvest their corn and soybean crops, though analysts expect them to soon resume a brisk pace. Meanwhile, traders are less concerned about dry conditions in northern Brazil--which initially hampered soybean planting--with wetter forecasts in the weeks to come.

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STORIES OF INTEREST

Analyst Questions Whether Worst Is Over for Big Food -- Market Talk

8:05 ET - Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard says big food companies' stock prices have fallen this year, "which makes our negative stance more controversial these days," she notes. She says cost-cutting and deal-making opportunities are there, which makes a case for investing in these food giants now. But she doesn't think the worst is over in terms of consumer eating habits changing to the detriment of companies like Kraft Heinz and General Mills. "The rise of Amazon/The Whole Foods Market is likely to spur the growth of premium fresh prepared food in brick and mortar stores...and retailers take many years to overhaul their store floor prints," she says. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

Whole Foods Data Breach Affected About 100 Taprooms, Restaurants -- Update

Whole Foods Market said Friday that a data breach involving credit-card charges made at the grocer's taprooms and full-service restaurants affected about 100 venues in its stores over a six-month period.

The company said the hack lasted from March 10 until Sept. 28 and included bars and restaurants in 30 states, including California, Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Big cities including New York City, Chicago, Washington, D.C., were among those targeted. Ninety-six of the of the grocer's stores were breached, or about a fifth of the chain's total.

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Placements Jump in September

Traders are bracing for an uptick of slaughter-ready cattle supplies next year after feedyards placed more livestock than expected in lots for fattening.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Friday that cattle placements in September rose 13% from a year earlier, to 2.15 million head, well above pre-report estimates that forecast a 7% increase.

CASH MARKETS

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

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Oct 20 +$16.28 +$ 31.49

Oct 19 +$15.27 +$ 28.52

Oct 18 +$16.79 +$ 26.83

* 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 112.0

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 112.7

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose 29 cents per hundred pounds, to $199.86, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 38 cents per hundred pounds, to $191.14. The total load count was 101. Wholesale pork prices rose $1.38, to $75.05 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 20, 2017 17:23 ET (21:23 GMT)