Livestock Highlights: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES

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Canada Nafta Negotiator Maintains Hard Line -- Market Talk

16:19 ET -- Canada's chief negotiator at Nafta, Steve Verheul, told Canadian lawmakers the Trump administration's proposal on auto-sector content is "wholly unworkable," and warned Canada wouldn't sign on to continental trade pacts that "fundamentally weaken the benefits of Nafta for Canada." Verheul, in a rare public appearance before a parliamentary trade committee, said U.S. proposals dealing with autos, the dispute-settlement process, government procurement, and a sunset clause are "extreme," echoing language used by senior Canadian officials such as Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. He added the U.S. is also proposing the elimination of Canadian tariffs on dairy, poultry and eggs with no assurances the U.S. will do likewise for Canadian agrifood products. His hardline comments come as Nafta talks are at a standstill. The next full round of talks is scheduled for Montreal in late January. (paul.vieira@wsj.com, @paulvieira)

Tax Reform Fattens-Up Meat Stocks -- Market Talk

14:48 ET -- The prospect of deep cuts to corporate tax rates has boosted shares of top U.S. meat processors at a time when they typically struggle. Meat stocks including Tyson Foods, Hormel Foods, Pilgrim's Pride and Sanderson Farms rallied between 10%-17% in November, versus a 2.8% gain in the S&P 500, Vertical Group analysts note, bucking historical performance that usually sees meat-centric stocks decline or make marginal gains. Gains in poultry-focused stocks Pilgrim's Pride and Sanderson Farms are "even more remarkable" given recent declines in chicken-processing margins, the analysts say. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST

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Pricing Pressure Isn't Culprit Of Big Foods' Problem -- Market Talk

15:54 ET -- Barclays thinks some of the packaged food industry's problems this year may be imaginary. The challenge that seems to worry investors most is the pressure from retailers to lower prices, "however, while price pressure may yet come, the data thus far simply do not bear out this concern." Among the largest packaged food categories, about two-thirds have higher prices than a year ago, and the percentage of items sold at a discount decreased, according to Barclays analysis of Nielsen data. Barclays says margins have decreased but that's due to higher freight costs, food prices and customer service costs. Pricing pressure isn't the "culprit." (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Fall to Multi-Week Low

Cattle futures fell to a five-week low, marking a third consecutive session of losses driven by concerns about buoyant supplies. Live cattle contracts for December slid 0.7% to $1.16375 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the lowest close since Oct. 27.

CASH MARKETS

Zumbrota, Minn Hog Steady at $35.00 - Dec 4

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market today

are steady at $35.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are $2.00-$6.00 lower. Sows weighing 400-450 pounds are at

$34.00-$35.00, 450-500 pounds are $34.00-$35.00 and those over 500 pounds

are $36.00-$37.00.

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 - Dec 4

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Dec 4 +$46.57 +$ 49.68

Dec 1 +$45.84 +$ 47.70

Nov 30 +$43.56 +$ 47.70

* 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 109.3

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 107.3

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Monday rose $2.20 per hundred pounds, to $208.19, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $1.93 per hundred pounds, to $185.54. The total load count was 101. Wholesale pork prices rose 92 cents, to $83.51 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 04, 2017 17:28 ET (22:28 GMT)