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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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08/29/2019 | 05:25pm EDT


Popeyes Launches Chicken Sandwich Arms Race: 'JFK Called for A Man on the Moon' 

A chicken sandwich battle has fast-food chains out for blood. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen touched it off with a new sandwich just over two weeks ago. Fans praised the crispiness. They liked the thick pickles. And they used social media to roast rivals for what they deemed inferior chicken sandwiches. "It's like they're putting something else inside the [Popeyes] sandwich to get people hooked," said Jamell Massey, a 27-year-old longshoreman in Jacksonville, Fla., who ate six in three days.

Government Chicken Probe Hasn't Targeted Sanderson -- Market Talk 

0808 ET - Sanderson Farms hasn't been contacted in the US government's criminal investigation into chicken pricing, the Mississippi poultry producer says in a regulatory filing. Larger rivals Tyson Foods and Pilgrim's Pride this month disclosed DOJ subpoenas seeking documents and information related to long-running civil lawsuits over how the meat processors price chicken. Those companies have rejected the claims, saying that fundamental factors have driven per-pound prices for chicken breasts and other products. Sanderson says Thursday in a filing that it "has not been subpoenaed in connection with the Department of Justice investigation." (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Sanderson Farms 3Q Misses Wall Street Targets 

Sanderson Farms Inc. (SAFM) missed Wall Street forecasts for sales and profit in its latest quarter, hurt in part by weaker prices for some chicken products. The poultry processor reported sales of $945.2 million for its fiscal third quarter, up 11% from the comparable period last year. Analysts polled by FactSet forecast $958.6 million for the quarter that ended July 31.


Popeyes's Sandwich Opens Customer Base -- Market Talk 

15:07 ET - Popeyes' rollout of chicken sandwiches is one of the biggest social-media phenomena related to fast food since McDonald's launched all-day breakfast and Wendy's offered up a pretzel bacon cheeseburger a few years ago, Chris Camillo, an investor who co-founded a service that tracks social-media data that is now owned by Jefferies Financial Group, tells WSJ. "I don't think the financial markets appreciate the extent that this was an anomaly," that helps Restaurant Brands International's Popeyes unit, Camillo says. The chain, he adds, can now appeal to a much bigger universe of consumers: those looking for on-the-go food who couldn't get that with the chain's bone-in chicken. Shares of Restaurant Brands International are up 1.4% and up about 50% so far this year. (micah.maidenberg@wsj.com; @MicahMaidenberg)

China's Pork-Price Cycle Becoming Self-Perpetuating: INTL FCStone -- Market Talk 

0106 GMT Aug. 28 - China's pork-price cycle is becoming a bit self-perpetuating as rapid price increases make farmers want to hold off selling for a few days or weeks in hopes of getting even higher prices, INTL FCStone says. "Additionally, slaughter facilities and cold storage facilities are trying to use up all the available space and hold the pork a bit longer if possible to benefit from expected gains in prices," it adds. Chicken eggs are also rising in price as hot weather lowers production when seasonal demand is high. Chinese pork price rose 18% in the two weeks ended Aug. 23 to CNY31.77 a kilogram. (lucy.craymer@wsj.com)

F1 Champion Lewis Hamilton Teams Up with Beyond Meat for Plant-Based Burger Chain 

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has partnered with Beyond Meat Inc. to launch an international plant-based burger chain. Neat Burger's first outlet will open in London in September, with 14 more franchises scheduled to open globally in the next two years.


Livestock Stays Higher to Close Thursday -- Market Talk 

15:27 ET - Both lean hog and live cattle futures finish with gains on CME, with lean hogs up by 2.2% to 64.9 cents per pound and live cattle up 0.6% to 99.8 cents per pound. The improving sentiment surrounding US-China trade talks appears to be rubbing off on livestock, with livestock following the US stock market higher. For hog futures, the contract is now up 6.6% from the start of the week -- while cattle futures are down 0.5% for the week through Thursday. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)


Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Aug 29 
Source: USDA, based on Wall Street Journal calculations 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
Aug 29       +$ 22.32            +$ 22.27 
Aug 28       +$ 16.83            +$ 22.96 
Aug 27       +$ 20.08            +$ 28.16 
* 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  109.2 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select  104.5 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday fell 77 cents per hundred pounds, to $232.19, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 97 cents per hundred pounds, to $212.78. The total load count was 101. Wholesale pork prices fell 32 cents, to $70.76 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.42% 143.6 End-of-day quote.-3.12%
INTL FCSTONE INC. -1.26% 39.86 Delayed Quote.8.97%
JEFFERIES FINANCIAL GROUP -0.05% 18.49 Delayed Quote.6.51%
LEAN HOGS (HE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.37% 67.9 End-of-day quote.11.77%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -1.60% 110.6 End-of-day quote.-9.94%
RESTAURANT BRANDS INTERNATIONAL INC. -0.56% 90.72 Delayed Quote.27.92%
SANDERSON GROUP PLC 0.00% 140.5 End-of-day quote.58.76%
TYSON FOODS 1.29% 82.42 Delayed Quote.54.34%
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