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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS : Top Stories of the Day

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03/25/2020 | 04:21pm EDT

TOP STORIES

 

McDonald's Evaluating Franchisees' Operations, Considering Rent Deferral

McDonald's Corp. said it is working with its global franchisees to evaluate their operations amid the coronavirus pandemic and explore liquidity measures such as rent deferrals.

The fast-food chain Wednesday also said it is working with suppliers on contingency planning to ensure supply.

The company said it has closed all restaurants in countries such as France, Italy, Spain and the U.K. as measures to contain the pandemic have crippled businesses. It has limited operations, which include drive-thru, delivery and take-out, in markets such as Australia, Canada and Germany, the company said.

 

Investors Start To Game Out Tough 2Q for Restaurant Chains -- Market Talk

1606 ET - How ugly could comparable-sales figures at fast-food chains get for 2Q as the coronavirus ripples through more countries? Analysts at Baird say they are currently modeling a 30% global comp-sales plunge for McDonald's for the period, though the US performs better under their assumptions (at -25%) than some international markets. Almost all of the hamburger company's US stores are currently only offering drive-through options, delivery or carry out. Operations are crimped in many other markets too. (micah.maidenberg@wsj.com; @MicahMaidenberg)

 

Cracker Barrel Nixes Dividends, Draws Remainder of Credit Facility Amid Covid-19 Crisis

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. said Wednesday that it would suspend its dividends and stop share repurchases as the Covid-19 pandemic hits restaurant dining.

The Lebanon, Tenn.-based restaurant chain said it would defer a previously announced dividend, scheduled for May 5, until Sept. 2.

 

STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Food Manufacturers Raise Factory Pay

Some food manufacturers are raising pay for workers in their factories, warehouses and delivery fleets that they are counting on to maintain production at a time of sky-high demand.

Cargill Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Hormel Foods Corp., Kraft Heinz Co., Campbell Soup Co. and Danone SA are among companies that have agreed to higher wages and paid sick leave or child-care stipends for certain employees, according to the companies.

 

FUTURES MARKETS

 

Livestock Futures Finish Lower -- Market Talk

15:15 ET - Livestock futures on the CME have finished the day lower, but traders expect that demand for meat will remain strong for the foreseeable futures as coronavirus wreaks havoc on global health. "I think demand for beef, pork, and poultry will be strong for the rest of the year," says Craig Turner of Daniels Trading. "I think the back end of cattle is a good value on the breaks." Live cattle futures finished the day down 0.7% to 96.325 cents per pound, while lean hogs futures finished down 1.7% to 71.75 cents per pound. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

 

CASH MARKETS

 
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Mar 25 
 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
 
Mar 25       +$ 35.39            +$ 35.96 
Mar 24       +$ 40.55            +$ 41.59 
Mar 23       +$ 47.58            +$ 45.03 
 
* 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  111.2 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select  111.0 
 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 
 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday fell $1.01 per hundred pounds, to $255.30, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $2.39 per hundred pounds, to $243.09. The total load count was 149. Wholesale pork prices fell $2.62, to $78.46 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

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