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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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02/18/2020 | 05:27pm EDT



China to Grant Tariff Exemptions on US Farm Products -- Market Talk

09:11 ET - Some 697 US products, including farm goods, will be exempted from tariffs beginning March 2, according to Chinese officials. That is when importers will be allowed to apply for exemptions. This leaves the US market open for new reports of big Chinese purchases from the USDA, as this move suggests that China will act to reach the $36.5B in US agricultural purchases, as promised by phase one of the US-China trade deal. China is expected to be particularly interested in hog and soybean trading opportunities. "This week will be closely watched for any signs of China purchasing any U.S. products," says Allendale. Overnight, wheat and corn futures traded higher, while soybeans were slightly lower. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com, @kirkmaltais)




Conagra Calls Out Tough January for Food -- Market Talk

1007 ET - Conagra Brands lowers its expectations for comparable sales for its fiscal year in light of softer sales trends in January, which it said also impacted its competitors. Conagra now projects flat to 0.5% growth in comparable sales, down from its previous forecast of 1% to 1.5% growth. Conagra said recent shipment orders to retailers indicate that the period of softness is over and was just an "air pocket." At an investor presentation this morning, Conagra said it's sales in retailers fell 4.4% in the four weeks ended Jan. 26 as frozen single-serve meals and frozen vegetables were down industry-wide. But for the week ended Feb. 9 that metric rose 5.3%, giving it confidence. Conagra shares fall 7.9%. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)


Lawyers Look to Build Herbicide Cases Against Bayer, BASF -- Market Talk

14:17 ET - Plaintiffs' lawyers say they're rapidly signing up new farmer clients to file lawsuits against Bayer and BASF over alleged crop damaged linked to the companies' biotech seeds, engineered to resist the herbicide dicamba. A federal-court jury last weekend awarded $265M to a Missouri peach grower in the first such case to go to trial, and since then, "our phones have not stopped ringing," says Kevin Conway, a lawyer with Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane, which is representing farmers in the litigation. Conway estimated about 150 farms have sued the companies over dicamba damage so far, with dozens more contacting his firm in the last few days. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)


Mondelez Benefits From Increase in 'Snacking Occasions' -- Market Talk

13:47 ET - Mondelez International, home to brands including Oreo and Cadbury, reaffirms guidance and discusses its progress at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York Conference. CEO Dirk Van de Put says Mondelez has "moved from a centralized to a local-first commercial approach." The company points to favorable industry trends, noting an 18% increase in average "snacking occasions globally from 2015 to 2017," and that "Gen Z snacks more times a day than anyone else." (josh.beckerman@wsj.com)




Hog Futures Rebound To Finish Day Higher -- Market Talk

15:29 ET - Lean hog futures on the CME end the trading day 1.9% with a gain to 65.5 cents per pound, which is the highest that hog futures have been in over a week--this after starting trading down 0.2% at the beginning of the day. Hog futures have now finished higher for the third day in a row, making it roughly 3% that hogs have rallied during the span. Meanwhile, live cattle inched up 0.2% to $1.2060 per pound. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)



Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Feb 18 
 This report reflects U.S. pork packer processing margins. The margin indices 
are calculated using current cash hog or carcass values and wholesale pork 
cutout values and may not reflect actual margins at the plants. These 
estimates reflect the general health of the industry and are not meant to 
be indicative of any particular company or plant. 
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 
Feb 18       +$ 23.82            +$  4.72 
Feb 17       +$ 23.50            -$  0.70 
Feb 14       +$ 23.22            +$  0.44 
* 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   94.8 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select   95.6 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday fell $1.13 per hundred pounds, to $206.13, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $2.45 per hundred pounds, to $203.73. The total load count was 128. Wholesale pork prices rose $2.52, to $63.93 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
BASF SE -1.98% 40.755 Delayed Quote.-38.26%
BAYER AG 0.34% 53.03 Delayed Quote.-27.41%
CONAGRA BRANDS, INC. 2.24% 30.75 Delayed Quote.-12.59%
CORN FUTURES (C) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 -0.37% 333.5 End-of-day quote.-12.12%
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.00% 110.675 End-of-day quote.-19.20%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.00% 92.825 End-of-day quote.-25.56%
MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL, INC -0.52% 50.26 Delayed Quote.-8.53%
SOYBEAN MEAL FUTURES (ZM) - CBE (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -1.87% 309 End-of-day quote.8.54%
SOYBEAN OIL FUTURES (ZL) - CBE (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.73% 26.24 End-of-day quote.-21.69%
WHEAT FUTURES (W) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 -1.54% 541.75 End-of-day quote.1.79%
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