LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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TOP STORIES

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Growing Appetites Fuel Record U.S. Meat Production

America is producing more meat than ever.

Farmers and meatpackers produced a record 99.7 billion pounds of red meat and poultry in 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. They are on track for an even bigger slaughter this year.

Tyson Foods Inc., Sanderson Farms Inc. and other meat companies are building new plants that are expected to push U.S. meat production up 3.8% in 2018, the biggest increase in more than 20 years.

Corn Lowers After USDA Boosts Harvest Projection -- Market Talk

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12:14 ET - Corn futures tip to red after the USDA says farmers last autumn brought in a larger crop than analysts had anticipated, also delivering a bigger-than-expected estimate for supplies. The agency said the 2017 corn harvest totaled 14.604B bushels, which was higher than its November figure. That surprised analysts who had anticipated a slight decrease. The USDA's figure for domestic stockpiles added to negative sentiment in the market, as it projected inventories this season at 2.477B bushels, a bump from last month's projection. Analysts had also expected that figure to decline. CBOT March corn falls 0.5% to $3.47/bu. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Soybeans Set to Struggle in 2018 -- Market Talk

13:47 ET - US farmers are reaping what they sowed last year, and that's a lot of soybeans. Farmers in the Midwest planted more soybeans than ever in 2017, betting on the oilseeds to help keep them afloat during a multiyear slump in crop prices and incomes. Despite erratic weather, they raised a record crop. Now, USDA is forecasting domestic reserves will balloon to the largest in 11 years, and some analysts worry that figure could grow larger still. Prices for the oilseeds will "struggle to rally" amid growing export competition from Brazil, says Karl Setzer of MaxYield Cooperative, who adds that even a bump in demand from expanding US crush facilities may not chew through the nation's supply as much as needed. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Carrefour's Non-Food Deals Worrying: Bernstein -- Market Talk

0733 GMT - Carrefour's acquisition of a 17% stake in Showroomprive worries Bernstein, with the brokerage saying the deal suggests a doubling down on non-food rather than a narrowing down, and that it diverts more money outside Carrefour's core food and grocery business. Bernstein says Carrefour's main priority is to fix food retail, but recent months have seen two non-food deals. The brokerage contrasts this with domestic competitor Leclerc, which has just planned a EUR1 billion investment over three years to grow and improve its current online grocery operations, despite already dwarfing Carrefour in online groceries. Bernstein rates Carrefour as underperform with a price target of EUR15.50. Carrefour shares closed Thursday at EUR17.49. (anthony.shevlin@dowjones.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Rise; Meat Supplies Grow in 2018

Livestock futures turned higher after a week punctuated by selloffs.

The hog market was rocked earlier this week by renewed tensions over the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta, after Canada filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over the Trump administration's use of tariffs.

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jan 12

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date Standard Margin Estimated margin

Operating Index at vertically -

integrated operations

*

Jan 12 +$14.25 +$ 38.99

Jan 11 +$12.43 +$ 37.49

Jan 10 +$13.80 +$ 39.34

* 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 107.3

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Friday fell 84 cents per hundred pounds, to $208.23, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.31 per hundred pounds, to $201.64. The total load count was 106. Wholesale pork prices rose 70 cents, to $78.54 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 12, 2018 17:19 ET (22:19 GMT)