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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS : Top Stories of the Day

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03/07/2018 | 11:44pm CEST


Papa John's Wants to Get Back to Making Pizzas

Papa John's International Inc. is trying to figure out how to stand out in a crowded pizza market.

The chain last week ended its sponsorship of the National Football League, and the NFL named rival Pizza Hut its new sponsor the next day. Now Papa John's must resolve the bigger problem of redefining its brand to revive flagging sales growth.


Tegel Slumps to Post-IPO Low on Profit Warning -- Market Talk

21:37 GMT - Shares in NZ-based poultry producer Tegel slump 8% to a post-IPO low after a profit warning. Tegel now sees FY18 underlying ebitda of NZ$70M-NZ$72M and a net profit NZ$25M-NZ$27M, stating a move to cut its reliance on supplying fast-food chains in Australia had been bumpy. Tegel's strategy of building a bigger presence in retail and foodservice has been slower than forecast, resulting in January and February exports falling short of hopes. Tegel added that NZ$8M-NZ$10M in one-off costs, including from storm damage and an ammonia leak at its New Plymouth plant, would weigh on FY18 earnings. Tegel had previously expected FY18 underlying ebitda to beat FY17's NZ$$75.6M. (david.winning@wsj.com; @dwinningWSJ)

Drought, Exports to Ease U.S. Corn Supplies

Stronger demand for U.S. corn will likely keep local supplies in check this season, analysts say.

They expect the U.S. Department of Agriculture to lower its domestic corn stockpile estimate for 2017-18 when the agency releases its monthly supply-and-demand report on Thursday at noon ET.

Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal on average expect the agency to lower its projection to 2.299 billion bushels, down from its previous estimate of 2.352 billion. That would still be slightly above a year earlier.

Monsanto Digs Deeper into Artificial Intelligence -- Market Talk

09:33 ET - As agriculture companies race to develop computer systems that can pick better seeds and pesticides, Monsanto boosts its bet on San Francisco startup Atomwise, an artificial intelligence developer with which the biotech seed maker has already been working. Monsanto's venture capital arm leads a $45M round of new funding for Atomwise, which is also applying its AI efforts to pharmaceuticals, and boasts that its enlightened machines have a success rate 10,000 times higher than conventional methods when screening chemical compounds. Monsanto has also been building its own artificial intelligence systems to help produce higher-yielding corn plants. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)


Cattle Futures Drift Higher, Hogs Fall

Cattle futures inched higher amid early-week cash sales.

Meatpackers bought most of the cattle available at the online Fed Cattle Exchange auction on Wednesday morning for $126 per 100 pounds on a live basis, around $1 lower than last week's average. That followed on from some trades also at $126 on Tuesday.

Cattle futures for April delivery rose 0.1% to $1.22975 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The futures market has recently tumbled from mid-February highs on anticipation of growing supplies and chart signals that suggested to traders that prices were headed lower.

Hog futures fell. The cash market has recently steadied, rising on Monday and Tuesday after several weeks of losses. But a snowstorm on the east coast disrupted slaughterhouses in the region, observers said, which could weigh on prices. CME April lean hog futures fell 0.6% to 67.8 cents a pound.


Zumbrota, Minn Hog $1.00 Higher At $40.00 - Mar 7 

Barrow and gilt prices at the Zumbrota, Minn., livestock market are $1.00 higher at $40.00 per hundredweight.

Sow prices are steady. Sows weighing 400-450 pounds are at $38.00-$40.00, 450-500 pounds are $38.00-$40.00 and those over 500 pounds are $43.00-$45.00.

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 - Mar 7 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
Mar          +$18.55              +$29.62 
Mar 6        +$25.35              +$35.68 
Mar 5        +$29.95              +$39.21 
* 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. 
This report compares the USDA's latest beef carcass composite 
values as a percentage of their respective year-ago prices. 
          For Today             Choice  104.7 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select  103.8 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday rose 22 cents per hundred pounds, to $223.57, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices were flat at $215.20. The total load count was 136. Wholesale pork prices fell $2.82, to $74.18 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Corrections & Amplifications

This item was corrected at 10:37 a.m. ET on Thurs., March 8, 2018. The pork packer standard margin operating index is +$18.55, not +$19.18.

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