LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Ranchers, Meatpackers Haggling Over Cattle Prices -- Market Talk

09:39 ET - A days-long standoff between cattle ranchers and meatpackers rolls into Friday, as buyers and sellers of beef cattle remain some distance apart and very little trade seen so far across US Plains States. Some animals changed hands in eastern Nebraska at $1.16 per pound, but that's seen as an isolated deal and may not say much about where overall prices wind up as haggling continues in cattle country. Producers continue to draw optimism from live cattle futures markets, which settled Thursday at their highest level since early August. December contracts rise 0.6% on Friday's open at the CME to $1.2147 a pound. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com ; @jacobbunge)

Whole Foods Hiring Thousands After Amazon Merger -- Market Talk

1439 ET - Whole Foods aims to hire 6,000 new store workers, a reversal from layoffs in recent years that hit its stores hard. The natural grocer announces it will hold a national hiring day on November 2 for front-line seasonal and permanent positions in its stores. The company cut 1,500 jobs in 2015 as it struggled with declining sales, leading to complaints about declining service. Amazon purchased the chain this summer, and Whole Foods executives have described the deal as a relief from an increasingly competitive food retail landscape that forced it to close stores and cut staff. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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ABF Shares Over-Valued as Primark Faces Online Rivalry -- Market Talk

0936 GMT - Shares in Associated British Foods PLC are over-valued and the owner of budget fashion retailer Primark is not fully embracing the online retail revolution, says Macquarie. The Australian brokerage starts covering ABF, which also supplies sugar and food products, with an under-perform rating and target price 2,900p. Shares last down 0.24% at 3,354p. It expects Primark to increase annual sales more than 10% a year long term, but questions whether it is keeping up with demand for online shopping. "We regard the current valuation as too high and believe consensus earnings per share expectations are too ambitious in FY18E and even more so in FY19E." (philip.waller@wsj.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

U.S. Hog Futures Stumble on Supply Concerns; Cattle Gain

CHICAGO--Hog futures sank as traders questioned whether the market can maintain momentum with pigs headed to slaughter in record numbers. Cattle contracts gained.

December-dated lean hog futures closed 1% lower at 64.45 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Friday, erasing gains in the prior session when the contract settled at its highest level since Aug. 18.

Little trade had taken place as of early Friday afternoon as buyers and sellers continued to haggle over prices. December-dated live cattle futures settled 0.1% higher at $1.2082 a pound at the CME.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Oct. 27

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Oct 27 +$22.79 +$35.60

Oct 26 +$19.67 +$35.30

Oct 25 +$15.57 +$32.29

* 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 111.5

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 114.3

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose 93 cents per hundred pounds, to $203.30, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 57 cents per hundred pounds, to $192.48. The total load count was 81. Wholesale pork prices rose 14 cents, to $76.96 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 27, 2017 17:50 ET (21:50 GMT)