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LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

11/19/2020 | 05:39pm EDT


Foreign Meat Is Dropping Off the Menu in China as Local Pork Prices Fall 

China's voracious appetite for imported meat is starting to wane, as domestic pork prices fall and consumer worries grow about the coronavirus lingering on food. For more than two years, Chinese farmers have battled outbreaks of African swine fever, a highly contagious hemorrhagic disease that reduced the country's domestic herds in 2019 by as much as 41% -- or more than 100 million pigs--causing pork prices to more than double. The swine fever virus isn't harmful to humans, but is almost always deadly in pigs and there is no vaccine or cure for it.

Plant-Based Meat Expands Market Presence -- Market Talk 

10:52 ET - Plant-based meat has made big gains in grocery store presence and consumer interest this year, even with the coronavirus pandemic altering consumer patterns. Dollar sales of products containing tempeh-- protein made from fermented soybeans--are up 148% from the previous year, according to data from Nielsen. This week, Greenleaf Foods SPC announced that its Lightlife tempeh product is now available in 3,500 Walmart stores--bringing the total availability to 18,500 retail locations nationwide, with sales growing 44% this year. "Lightlife Tempeh accounted for about 80% of total US tempeh dollar sales so far this year," says Dan Curtin, president of Greenleaf Foods, SPC. "This is only the beginning as we further grow the plant-based category with our variety of plant-based products." (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

Post Holdings Swings to 4Q Profit on Lower Expenses 

Post Holdings Inc. swung to a profit in the fiscal fourth quarter on lower expenses as the pandemic continues to push shoppers toward at-home consumption. The consumer packaged goods company, whose products include Honey Bunches of Oats and Weetabix cereal, posted a profit of $57 million, or 83 cents a share, in the quarter ended September 30, compared with a loss of $61.1 million, or 84 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings were 58 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet were looking for adjusted profit of 78 cents a share.


Tyson Suspends Managers After Lawsuit Claims They Bet on Covid-19 Infections 

Tyson Foods Inc. said it suspended managers at an Iowa pork plant following allegations that some wagered on the number of workers who would become infected with Covid-19, as the pandemic roiled the meat industry last spring. Dean Banks, Tyson's chief executive, said Thursday that the company had hired law firm Covington & Burling LLP to investigate the allegations. The claims were made in a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by the family of a former employee of the Waterloo, Iowa, plant who died in April after contracting the coronavirus.

Wendy's Consortium Bids to Buy Bankrupt NPC's Wendy's Restaurants 

A consortium including Wendy's Co. and a group of franchisees has submitted a bid to acquire the bankrupt NPC International Inc.'s Wendy's restaurants. Wendy's didn't disclose the amount of its bid.

New York City Mayor Warns of End to Indoor Dining, Gym Closures 

New York City gyms and indoor dining may close in the coming days as positivity rates for Covid-19 rise ahead of the holiday season, Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat, said many residents questioned why gyms and indoor dining remain open while in-person instruction at city schools closed Thursday. The mayor said it was just a matter of time before the state puts restrictions on gyms and indoor dining.


Livestock Futures Sink as Coronavirus Hits Demand -- Market Talk 

15:22 ET - Livestock futures on the CME post big declines, partially in reaction to weak export sales figures this morning and partially due to climbing coronavirus cases ahead of next week's Thanksgiving holiday. The move lower is a correction from upticks seen earlier this week, in which cutout prices were improving on higher consumer demand. "It feels like the market [found] support from a tendency for consumers to want to own a bit more inventory than normal due to virus surge," RJO Futures says. "In the end, demand may not be as strong as believed." Most-active live cattle futures close 2.3% lower to $1.10525 a pound, while lean cattle futures slide 4.3% to 63.05c. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)


Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Nov 19 
All figures are on a per-head basis. 
Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin 
         Operating Index         at vertically - 
                             integrated operations 
Nov 19       +$ 35.60            +$ 40.57 
Nov 18       +$ 32.83            +$ 36.87 
Nov 17       +$ 34.72            +$ 39.24 
* 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   99.8 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)      Select   99.6 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday rose $1.86 per hundred pounds, to $237.70, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 27 cents per hundred pounds, to $213.89. The total load count was 152. Wholesale pork prices rose $1.72, to $77.94 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

11-19-20 1738ET

Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.02% 154.775 End-of-day quote.11.44%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.14% 123.45 End-of-day quote.9.14%
OATS FUTURES (O) - CBR (FLOOR)/C1 4.69% 557.75 End-of-day quote.47.54%
POST HOLDINGS, INC. 1.58% 107.45 Delayed Quote.6.38%
SOYBEAN MEAL FUTURES (ZM) - CBE (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.00% 337.9 End-of-day quote.-22.63%
TYSON FOODS, INC. -0.05% 75.48 Delayed Quote.17.13%
WALMART INC. -0.23% 142.69 Delayed Quote.-1.01%
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