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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

09/10/2020 | 05:35pm EDT



Discovery of African Swine Fever in Germany Drives Hogs Higher -- Market Talk

10:43 ET - A case of African swine fever discovered in a wild boar carcass in Germany has US hog futures on the CME higher Thursday - especially after South Korea banned imports of German pork in reaction to the OIE reporting the case. "Hogs are running on hopes that the discovery of African Swine Fever in Germany, and the subsequent shutting off of exports from that country to S. Korea, will be the start of more such bans which will lead to increased exports of US pork and subsequently boost packer demand for hogs," says independent trader Dan Norcini. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)


Kroger's Tech Bets Fell Short During Coronavirus

Kroger Co. has spent years -- and hundreds of millions of dollars -- investing in technology to give it a digital edge in the grocery business. But when the coronavirus changed customers' buying habits overnight, the grocery chain wasn't as ready for the online shift as some of its competitors.

The nation's biggest grocer, Kroger has poured money into projects ranging from a self-driving grocery delivery robot to a partnership to sell goods in China through Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. It also bet that a delivery model using remote fulfillment centers, popular in Europe, would resonate stateside. Yet, when the pandemic sent a tsunami of customers ordering groceries online for the first time, it was unable to meet higher demand.


Wm. Morrison Has Been Hit Hard by Pandemic -- Market Talk

1155 GMT - Wm. Morrison Supermarkets suffered a heavy hit from the pandemic, says Richard Hunter, analyst at interactive investor. Fuel sales nearly disappeared for much of the first half of fiscal 2021 due to the lockdown, while the business rates relief could only partially offset the GBP155 million of extra costs that the U.K. grocer had to bear amid the pandemic, Hunter says. "Contrary to popular belief, the pandemic was not an automatic home run for the supermarkets and the 25% drop in pre-tax profits for Morrison is proof positive that additional sales come at an additional price," Hunter says, noting the financial burden of hiring 45,000 new staff among other costs. Shares are down 3.2% at 188.8 pence. (matteo.castia@dowjones.com)




Empire 1Q Profit, Sales Rise

Empire Co. said its first-quarter profit and sales rose as Canadians continued their grocery consumption while they work and learn from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Stellarton, Nova Scotia-based food retailer on Thursday posted net income of 191.9 million Canadian dollars, equivalent to $145.8 million, for the quarter ended Aug. 1, compared with C$130.6 million in the year-ago period. Per-share earnings were C$0.71, compared with C$0.48 in the comparable quarter last year.




Benefits for US Pork Push Futures Higher -- Market Talk

15:14 ET - Lean hog futures on the CME finish up 4.9% to 64.375 cents per pound. It's the highest that hog futures have traded since early May, driven mostly by the discovery of African swine fever in a wild boar carcass in Germany--which caused South Korea to quickly shut its doors to German imports. "South Korea has already stepped forward to ban German pork imports and others will likely follow," says Karl Setzer of AgriVisor. "Thoughts are this will add demand for US pork to an already record volume." Meanwhile, live cattle futures finish trading up 0.4% at $1.051 per pound. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)



Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Sep 10 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
Sep 10       +$ 53.11            +$ 44.89 
Sep  9       +$ 56.93            +$ 43.54 
Sep  8       +$ 69.34            +$ 46.23 
* 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  100.4 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)      Select  104.5 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday fell $2.12 per hundred pounds, to $220.83, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell 19 cents per hundred pounds, to $207.32. The total load count was 198. Wholesale pork prices fell 63 cents, to $79.95 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
ALIBABA GROUP HOLDING LIMITED -0.67% 211.64 Delayed Quote.-9.06%
EMPIRE COMPANY LIMITED -0.07% 41.85 Delayed Quote.20.29%
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 1.90% 151.225 End-of-day quote.6.80%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 1.04% 118.8 End-of-day quote.4.09%
THE KROGER CO. -0.21% 38.71 Delayed Quote.21.88%
WM MORRISON SUPERMARKETS PLC 0.51% 175.75 Delayed Quote.-0.90%
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