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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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09/12/2019 | 05:26pm EDT

TOP STORIES

New Chinese Purchase of Pork Reported by USDA -- Market Talk

09:38 ET - Chinese buyers made new purchases of 10,900 metric tons of US pork during the week ending Sept. 5, according to the USDA's weekly export sales report Thursday. It is the first sizable purchase of US pork made by China in nearly a month. News of the purchase comes as President Trump has taken to Twitter to promise more large agricultural purchases by Chinese buyers. "It is expected that China will be buying large amounts of our agricultural products!" Trump said Thursday. Hog futures on the CME have fallen 4.5% in trading this week. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

Cargill Sells Investment Unit to Management -- Market Talk

16:22 ET - Cargill strikes a deal to sell its CarVal Investors alternative investment unit to the business's management team, continuing a yearslong process by the agricultural conglomerate to streamline its sprawling operations and focus on its core food concerns. The sale of CarVal, founded in 1987 and managing about $10B in corporate securities, loan portfolios and other assets, follows the 2015 spinoff of Cargill's Black River Asset Management, and Cargill's exit from other nonfood businesses like steel processing and petroleum trading. In July, Cargill reported its annual profit fell 17% to the lowest level since 2016. Cargill expects the deal to close in the fourth quarter and will remain an investor in CarVal's funds. Terms weren't disclosed. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Chick-fil-A Goes Antibiotic Free -- Market Talk

08:08 ET - Chick-fil-A says chicken served across its 2,400 US restaurants no longer contains antibiotics. The Atlanta-based chain says its the largest fast-food chain to strip growth hormones from its poultry in the US. Chick-fil-A worked with its suppliers for three years to meet the target. The effort came a cost, but will not be reflected in price increases beyond routine ones, executives for the fast-growing chain say. "Certainly this wasn't an easy change for suppliers," Matt Abercrombie, the company's director for menu and packaging, says in an interview. Chicken sandwiches have become a national craze this summer as rival Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen sold out of its offering. Chick-fil-A says its new standards weren't a marketing gimmick. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Demand for US Corn Drops Slightly, USDA Says -- Market Talk

12:17 ET - Usage of American corn is expected to be slightly less than originally predicted, the USDA says in its monthly WASDE report. Traders were anticipating a revision of figures for corn, which was projected to show a usage of 1.413 billion bushels last month. That usage is now cut to 1.411 billion. Cutbacks in domestic ethanol production, as well as the general malaise of export sales, have lowered demand projections for corn, causing some traders to expect an even bigger decline.(kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

Trade War Pressures Farm-Equipment Loans: Fitch -- Market Talk

14:22 ET - Increased US tariffs and the recent Chinese embargo on US agricultural goods are hurting equipment loan and lease asset-backed securities' collateral, adding to challenges such as declining commodity prices that have yet to rebound since 2014, Fitch Ratings says. Fitch's rated portfolio shows increased loan and lease delinquencies and annualized net losses as agricultural sales drop. With the Midwest flooding this year greasing the downturn in the agricultural sector, US farmers are taking the toll with reduced income, Fitch says. Recent federal aid packages aren't fully replacing the farmers lost income, either, Fitch says, and future bailouts aren't sustainable in a prolonged trade war. (dave.sebastian@wsj.com; @depsebastian)

Starbucks Names Three Directors, Boosts Board to 13 >SBUX

Starbucks on Thursday said it named three new directors, expanding the size of its board to 13 members from 10.

The Seattle coffee chain said the new directors include Richard Allison Jr., chief executive of Domino's Pizza; Andrew Campion, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Nike; and Isabel Ge Mahe, Apple vice president and managing director of Greater China.

FUTURES MARKETS

Hogs Finish Day Limit Up, Cattle Inches Higher -- Market Talk

15:44 ET - Hog futures skyrocket today as a change in the sentiment among traders brings back buyers to the market en masse. The contract tops out at a close of 63.175 cent per pound, a 5% increase from yesterday's level amid new tweets from President Trump promising more Chinese buying of US agriculture. Meanwhile, cattle futures are continuing to charge back towards the $1 per pound level, with the price up 4.4% since the start of the week. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

 
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Sep 12 
 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
 
Sep 12       +$ 46.70            +$ 20.70 
Sep 11       +$ 46.44            +$ 23.94 
Sep 10       +$ 42.68            +$ 23.43 
 
* 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  107.4 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select  100.7 
 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 
 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday rose 8 cents per hundred pounds, to $219.97, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 20 cents per hundred pounds, to $198.60. The total load count was 122. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.51, to $70.03 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
APPLE INC. 2.66% 236.21 Delayed Quote.45.87%
CBOT ETHANOL FUTURE (EH) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 2.45% 1.507 End-of-day quote.18.35%
CORN FUTURES (C) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 4.60% 397.75 End-of-day quote.1.40%
DOMINO'S PIZZA, INC. 1.19% 257.79 Delayed Quote.3.95%
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.03% 144.35 End-of-day quote.-3.06%
GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY 4.14% 8.8 Delayed Quote.16.25%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.71% 109.5 End-of-day quote.-12.88%
NIKE, INC. 0.95% 93.88 Delayed Quote.26.63%
STARBUCKS CORPORATION 0.47% 86.36 Delayed Quote.34.10%
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