LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

TOP STORIES

Kraft Heinz Plans Marketing Binge to Lift Sales -- 2nd Update

Kraft Heinz Co. and other big food makers are ramping up advertising after years of cost cutting, recognizing a need to generate new enthusiasm for their condiments, candies and snacks.

Kraft Heinz, which reported lower fourth-quarter sales on Thursday, said additional spending was necessary to bolster its strongest products as shoppers drifted toward lower-price store brands and newer niche products.

For the fourth quarter, Kraft Heinz posted a 2.2% drop in comparable sales globally, including a 2.7% decline in the U.S., its biggest market. The sales metric excludes the effect of currency fluctuations, mergers and divestitures.

Famous Dave's Owner Prefers the Corporate Combo Platter -- Market Talk

1412 ET - Changes at barbecue chain Famous Dave's have gone beyond the 2019 reorganization that formed BBQ Holdings Inc. A September investor presentation mentioned plans including the new Clark Crew BBQ concept, "ghost" restaurants and purchases of "immediately accretive brands with long runways." On Thursday, BBQ Holdings said it will buy the assets of Granite City Food and Brewery. In December, Granite City filed for bankruptcy. As of that time, it had 25 locations. For BBQ Holdings the "meaningfully accretive acquisition" will help its strategy to "accelerate growth and expansion as a multi-brand restaurant company."(josh.beckerman@wsj.com)

China Largely Absent on US Pork Export Sales -- Market Talk

09:23 ET - China's presence in today's US export sales report from the USDA is largely lacking. For pork, considered to be China's main interest due to the devastation of African swine fever on their own hog herds, China only made new purchases for 3,700 metric tons of the 28,600 tons in total reported today. Mexico was the biggest buyer, at 6,800 tons. However, pork actually exported from US shores totaled 42,900 tons, with 13,000 tons headed to China--perhaps a more hopeful metric for US hog traders. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Farmland Sales Pick Up in Plains States -- Market Talk

1536 ET - Farmland sales increased in 2019 across US Plains States like Missouri and Nebraska after years of declines, according to a Kansas City Fed survey. About 74% of farmland sales in the KC Fed district last year were made to other farmers, versus investment funds and other speculators; farmers' percentage of land purchases has steadily decreased since 2014. Farmland values in the district increased slightly in 2019's fourth quarter, but more land coming onto the market could push values lower, Fed researchers said. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Danone Launches Data Traceability Service for Baby Formula

Danone SA said Thursday that it is launching a digitally enabled service for consumers and retailers to access sustainability data for its baby formula, as part of its goal to provide greater transparency.

The service, called track & connect, will consist of a scannable QR code that will allow consumers to access a page with information on where and when the formula was manufactured and the product's journey through the supply chain to the shelves of the supermarkets.

Ahold Delhaize Reacts Well to Profitability Challenges in US -- Market Talk

0950 GMT - Ahold Delhaize's profitability in the U.S. market is at stake, Bryan Garnier says, as costs are mounting in the region. The Dutch grocer is suffering from a number of headwinds in the U.S., including rising labor costs, the dilutive impact of e-commerce, stores remodeling, and supply chain expenditure. However, it appears to be on track to better control these expenses, Bryan Garnier adds, as it is taking appropriate measures to preserve regional profitability. The investment bank says Ahold Delhaize did well with the disposal of its loss-making delivery business Peapod and has progressed towards its cost saving goals. Bryan Garnier has a neutral rating on the stock. Shares up 2.6% at EUR23.13. (matteo.castia@dowjones.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Turn Corner, Hogs Finish Higher -- Market Talk

15:33 ET - After spending much of the day trading lower, live cattle futures finished trading Thursday up 0.6% at $ 1.18525 per pound--making it two sessions in a row that cattle futures have improved. In the past month, cattle futures have shed 8.7%. However, they've since recovered 1.3%, leading some traders to suggest they've been oversold. Meanwhile, hog futures finished the day with a rise of 0.5% at 64.075 cents per pound. The decline puts an end to a three-day slide in the hog contract, although for the week hog futures remain off 3.3%. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Feb 13

All figures are on a per-head basis.

Date     Standard Margin       Estimated margin
         Operating Index         at vertically -
                             integrated operations

Feb 13       +$ 23.76            +$  0.29
Feb 12       +$ 25.43            +$  2.57
Feb 11       +$ 24.08            +$  2.39


* 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   95.4
      (Percent of Year-Ago)     Select   96.1

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Thursday rose 14 cents per hundred pounds, to $206.45, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices fell $1.51 per hundred pounds, to $203.79. The total load count was 131. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.06, to $61.87 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  02-13-20 1731ET
  Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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