LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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Farm Income Steadies Amid Livestock Gains -- Market Talk

11:35 ET - Income for US farmers will steady in 2017 after three straight years of decline, thanks largely to an uptick in livestock revenues. The USDA says net farm income will rise to $63.2B, up 2.7% from 2016 but still lower than each other year since 2009. Crop receipts are forecast 2% lower than last year, thanks to lower prices or volumes sold by farmers still grappling with a worldwide glut of grain. The oversupply has been exacerbated in 2017 by a fifth year of bumper US crops. Livestock receipts are expected to rise nearly 8% however thanks to increased revenues for milk, poultry, eggs and meat animals. (jesse.newman@wsj.com;@jessenewman13)

Ags May Be Late to Global Growth Party Next Year -- Market Talk

1643 GMT - After "one of the bleakest years in many...the outlook in 2018 is more constructive," for agricultural commodities, says Tracey Allen, agricultural commodities strategist at J.P. Morgan, speaking at the International Sugar Organization's annual seminar in London. An improving outlook for the energy sector may lift all commodities boats, she continues, adding that the "sustained upswing in global energy prices really is... [putting] a floor in agri-commodity markets, particularly in those that can be used in ethanol production." That said, sugar has been an "anomaly" in seeing few benefits from "above-trend global growth" which has affected equities, energy, and metals markets.(david.hodari@wsj.com; @davidhodari)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Whole Foods Stocking More Conventional Food -- Market Talk

10:42 ET - Conventional suppliers are getting new prominence at Whole Foods stores, with Tropicana Orange Juice, Domino Sugar and Glaceau Vitamin Water prominently on display, according to a Barclays Capital survey of stores. Whole Foods is known for organic, natural goods from small suppliers, but has begun to feature more conventional foods and lower prices to appeal to a greater range of shoppers. Some small suppliers are turning to other grocery chains to debut their products in response. Amazon.com bought Whole Foods this summer. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

Smith to Run Buffalo Wild Wings Until Arby Deal Completed -- Market Talk

13:03 ET - Sally Smith, the longtime CEO of Buffalo Wild Wings, will keep running the restaurant chain until Arby's Restaurant Group completes its takeover, according to a person familiar with the matter. The pending purchase of Buffalo Wild Wings is expected to close during 1Q. Arby's, controlled by Roark Capital Group, will buy the Minneapolis-based concern for $157 a share. In June, Smith announced plans to retire by year-end after shareholders elected three board nominees backed by an activist investor. Earlier this month, Buffalo Wild Wings directors suspended their search for a new CEO while they considered the takeover bid, another informed individual said. (joann.lublin@wsj.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Climb, as Hogs Fall

Cattle futures rose to a two-week high on Wednesday.

Traders were unconcerned by falling wholesale beef prices, instead looking to the week's cash trade. Many anticipated higher prices, though sales didn't surface during Wednesday's session.

Meatpackers didn't buy any cattle at a closely watched online Fed Cattle Exchange auction in the morning, the second consecutive week with no sales. Packers elsewhere bid around $117 to $118 per 100 pounds on a live basis, market observers said, with feedyards asking for $121 and above.

Analysts said futures traders were pushing up the market in anticipation of higher cash prices. December live-cattle futures rose 0.7% to $1.20475 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the highest close since Nov. 13.

Hog futures fell after opening higher. Both cash and meat prices were trending upward on Wednesday, with wholesale pork rising $1.32, to $83.55 per 100 pounds, at midday and physical hog prices expected steady to $1 higher.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn., Hog Steady At $35.00 - Nov 29

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today are steady at $35.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing 400-450 pounds are at $36.00-$38.00, 450-500 pounds are $36.00-$38.00 and those over 500 pounds are $40.00-$42.00.

The day's total run is estimated at 150 head.

Prices are provided by the Central Livestock Association.

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Nov 29

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Nov 29 +$45.62 +$47.96

Nov 28 +$45.80 +$46.18

Nov 27 +$46.76 +$45.01

* 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 109.9

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 107.6

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday fell $2.08 per hundred pounds, to $206.55, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.36 per hundred pounds, to $185.84. The total load count was 195. Wholesale pork prices rose 83 cents, to $82.71 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 29, 2017 17:48 ET (22:48 GMT)