Poultry stocks mixed a day after avian flu scare sent shares lower

MarketsAssociated Press

Shares of poultry producers were mixed Thursday, a day after falling sharply on fears that new cases of avian flu could impact U.S. poultry exports.

Authorities in Arkansas and Missouri said that avian flu was detected in turkey flocks at farms in the two states this week. Human infections are highly unlikely and officials said it is not a threat to the food supply.

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The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council said it's not clear yet how the new cases of avian flu will affect exports. The group said that many poultry companies have operations in other states that they can shift production to. It also said that the virus was traced to migratory birds and were not spread from farm to farm.

Butterball, a privately held company, confirmed Thursday that turkeys from suppliers in Missouri, and another in Arkansas, had avian flu. Butterball said farms 6 miles away were tested for avian flu, and were negative. "The nature of this virus demands that we maintain a high level of vigilance," the company said in a written statement.

Tyson Foods and Sanderson Farms said Thursday that none of their flocks have been affected by avian flu. Representatives from Pilgrim's Pride did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Shares of Tysons Foods Inc., based in Springdale, Arkansas, rose 1 cent to $37.56 Thursday. They fell nearly 6 percent on Wednesday.

— Shares of Sanderson Farms Inc., based in Laurel, Mississippi, fell $1.96, or 2.5 percent, to $77.07. They fell 4 percent Wednesday.

— Shares of Pilgrim's Pride Corp., based in Greeley, Colorado, slipped 18 cents to $25.18, after falling 4.4 percent Wednesday.