LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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Chipotle's December Traffic Falls on Illness Reports -- Market Talk

11:21 ET - Chipotle's December traffic was at the weakest level of 2017, likely due to reports of illnesses at a Los Angeles Chipotle last month, Cowen says, though the last week of December is usually slow anyway. Cowen, which based its findings on Facebook check-in data, said traffic has improved slightly so far this month, but Cowen is taking a cautionary view of January traffic given McDonald's roll-out this month of a new national value menu, which could lure deal-seeking Chipotle customers. Chipotle shares rise 1% to $310.03. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Grain Export Sales Fall Short, Pressuring Prices

Weak export sales of U.S. crops pressured grain and soybean futures on Friday.

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The competitiveness of U.S. exports has been a continuing source of concern to traders in recent months, with sales of many crops lagging expectations. Analysts are increasingly skeptical that exporters will meet current government targets.

Canada Minister in Kentucky to Talk Nafta, Basketball -- Market Talk

11:33 ET - Over two weeks before the next round of Nafta talks in Montreal, Canada's Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale addressed Kentucky's chamber of commerce in Lexington to urge local entrepreneurs to speak out on behalf of maintaining close trade ties. "The Canada-U.S. relationship needs engaged, informed, influential advocates like you--to defend, promote and strengthen it," Goodale said. "I urge you to renew and amplify your message... and avoid a trade disruption or rollback that would hurt Kentucky's economy and cost middle-class jobs." Goodale is among a series of Canadian officials making rounds with local lawmakers and businesses on behalf of Nafta, which faces an uncertain future. While in Kentucky, Goodale noted that the University of Kentucky Wildcats have regularly gone up north to recruit--most recently Jamal Murray, now of the NBA's Denver Nuggets. (paul.vieira@wsj.com; @paulvieira)

FUTURES MARKETS

Underwhelming Cattle Sales Pressure Futures

Cattle futures fell to their lower daily limit on Friday after physical cattle prices unexpectedly fell.

February-dated live cattle contract at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange dropped 3 cents, or 2.5%, to $1.1925 a pound, the lowest close in three weeks after three consecutive sessions of losses.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jan 5

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Jan 5 +$23.54 +$ 38.50

Jan 4 +$25.50 +$ 36.33

Jan 3 +$30.23 +$ 36.99

* 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 102.9

(Percent of Year-Ago) Select 104.1

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday rose 84 cents per hundred pounds, to $209.51, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $1.46 per hundred pounds, to $202.32. The total load count was 98. Wholesale pork prices rose $1.01, to $78.31 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 05, 2018 17:53 ET (22:53 GMT)