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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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06/12/2019 | 05:40pm EDT


McDonald's Softens on Speedy Service -- Market Talk 

11:12 ET - McDonald's leads its fast-food rivals in how customers view its speed of service, but customers have noticed that performance has worsened, according to a new UBS survey. 53% of the 2,429 monthly fast-food customers surveyed by the bank said they associate McDonald's with fast service, down from 58% in 2018. The number of respondents reporting they are eating at the chain due to its all-day breakfast offering also fell. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

Kroger and Ocado Break Ground on Automated Customer Fulfillment Center 

Supermarket operator Kroger and online grocer Ocado have broken ground on their first automated customer fulfillment center in the U.S., part of Kroger's strategy to expand further into grocery delivery. The U.S.'s largest supermarket chain is building the first high-tech warehouse facility in Monroe, Ohio, with digital and robotic capabilities. Cincinnati-based Kroger is investing $55 million to build the 335,000 square-foot center.


Trump Bolsters Biotech Seed Makers 

President Trump has provided a boost to biotech seed companies, instructing federal agencies to streamline regulation and promote the safety of genetically engineered crops. Mr. Trump issued an executive order on Tuesday calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to find ways to exempt low-risk agricultural biotechnology products from undue regulation, and remove barriers to the use of crops and livestock developed with new gene-editing technologies.

Investors Looking for Campbell's Innovation Agenda for Soups -- Market Talk 

10:49 ET - Campbell Soup CEO Mark Clouse plans to lay out a plan for revitalizing its soup business at an investor day Thursday, and investors will be closely watching his strategy for a unit that accounts for 27% of global sales. Part of the problem for soups as a category: a stagnation of new products. Around 6% of all branded soup sales over the year that ended in mid-May came from new products launched in recent years, compared with 19% in branded frozen-dinner sales, according to estimates from Citi analyst David Driscoll. "As the market leader in soup, we think Campbell can (and really needs to) do more on the innovation front," Driscoll says. Shares tick up 0.7%. (micah.maidenberg@wsj.com, @MicahMaidenberg)

Ethanol Stats Bullish for Corn -- Market Talk 

13:15 ET - Ethanol data released by the EIA shows ethanol production rising 52K barrels a day to 1.1M barrels--the highest level since December 2017. Meanwhile, ethanol inventories slid, falling 751K barrels to 21.8M barrels. The movement in production data coincides with the recent rule-change allowing E-15 gasoline--containing 15% ethanol content--to be sold year-round in the US. In general, higher production and lower inventories indicate higher demand. Traders called today's data bullish for corn futures on the CBOT, and corn futures remain elevated. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)


Cattle Finishes Down, Hog Futures Flat -- Market Talk 

15:46 ET - August live cattle futures on the CME finished lower as cash markets remain weak and weighed down the futures contract down. The contract finished trading down 1.5%, at $1.052 per pound. "Livestock futures were pressured today as cash values remain on the defensive," says Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. Meanwhile, the July lean hogs contract finished unchanged from yesterday at 84.375 cents per pound. In the past two months, the hog contract has fallen 14%. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)


Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jun 12 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
Jun 12       +$  3.59            +$ 43.70 
Jun 11       +$  9.35            +$ 46.97 
Jun 10       +$ 11.95            +$ 48.56 
* 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   98.8 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select  101.6 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday fell 24 cents per hundred pounds, to $222.15, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.52 per hundred pounds, to $206.73. The total load count was 136. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.52, to $80.73 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
KROGER -1.92% 21.43 Delayed Quote.-22.07%
OCADO GROUP PLC -1.09% 1136 Delayed Quote.43.80%
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