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October Cattle Placements Rise Above Expectations -- Market Talk

15:18 ET - Feedyards placed more cattle in lots for fattening in October than expected, according to the USDA. Cattle placements of 2.39M were 10% higher than a year earlier, above average prereport estimates of an 8% increase. That suggests that supplies of cattle heading to slaughterhouses in the first half of next year will rise more than expected, and likely increase pressure on the cash market for physical cattle. Total cattle on-feed on Nov. 1 of 11.3M were 6% higher than a year earlier, in line with expectations. Cattle marketed, or sent to slaughterhouses, in October rose 6% year-over-year, also in line with expectations. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com ; @b_parkyn)

Sysco, SpartanNash Raise Dividends as Prices Rise -- Market Talk

9:10 ET - Sysco becomes the second food distributor this week to raise its dividends as the sector struggles with food price inflation. Houston-based distributor approves a 9% increase in the quarterly cash dividend to 36 cents from 33 cents a share. SpartanNash said Thursday that it would repurchase up to $50M of its stock, prompting shares to rally 8%. Food distributors are struggling with rising wholesale food prices. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Unease over Nafta Growing in the Farm Belt -- Market Talk

13:50 ET - Worry is mounting in rural America as Nafta negotiations drag on and farmers continue to trudge through a multiyear downturn in the farm economy. If Trump withdraws from the trade pact--which he has threatened to do--it would be an "enormous blow" to the U.S. farm sector, Piper Jaffray says, adding the agreement has offered farmers a ready destination for their corn and other commodities during a time when many are just breaking even or losing money. "A disruption with NAFTA could send grain prices in a spiral," the firm says, adding that farm machinery and agricultural supply companies would also suffer "if we were to lose export demand and send ag into a depression." (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Placements Rose Above Expectations in October

Feedlots placed more cattle than expected in lots for fattening last month, suggesting that beef supplies will continue to grow next year.

Cattle futures for December closed 0.6% lower at $1.1885 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before the cattle on-feed report was released Friday afternoon. Futures fell 1.4% over the week.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Nov 17

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Nov 17 +$44.14 +$ 42.20

Nov 16 +$42.83 +$ 41.62

Nov 15 +$40.79 +$ 41.23

* 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 113.5

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 112.0

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell $3.00 per hundred pounds, to $207.24, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 2 cents per hundred pounds, to $187.85. The total load count was 158. Wholesale pork prices rose 27 cents, to $80.03 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 17, 2017 17:34 ET (22:34 GMT)