LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

TOP STORIES

Pilgrim's Pride CEO Jayson Penn Leaves Company

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said Jayson Penn, its president and chief executive put on leave in June after the U.S. Justice Department indicted him in a conspiracy to rig chicken prices, has exited the company, effective Wednesday. Fabio Sandri, the company's finance chief, has succeeded Mr. Penn, the company said. Mr. Sandri had assumed Mr. Penn's positions on an interim basis.

General Mills Adds Manufacturing Capacity As Volumes Remain Heightened -- Market Talk

0900 ET - For General Mills, the name of the game right now is volume. Sales volumes jumped 17% for its business focused on retailers in the US and Canada, its largest unit by sales, even as prices it charges for products eased. The company says volume gains helped drive a 24% jump in operating profit for the North America-retail segment, offset in part by increased media spending. The question remains how long will volumes remain elevated. Still, the company has added, since the start of the pandemic, around 30 new outside manufacturers to help the US and Canada business keep up with demand, CEO Jeff Harmening says, a move that raised the unit's external production capacity by roughly 25%. Shares up 1.7% premarket after results beat expectations and General Mills boosts its dividend. (micah.maidenberg@wsj.com; @ MicahMaidenberg)

STORIES OF INTEREST

Laird Superfood Shares Surge in Debut After Upsized IPO

Laird Superfood Inc. shares jumped more than 45% in their trading debut Wednesday after the company's upsized initial public offering was priced at the high end of increased expectations. Laird shares were recently changing hands at $32, up about 45.5%, after opening at $33.55.

CDPQ to Invest $125 Million in Food System Sustainability

Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec on Wednesday said it will invest up to $125 million over the next three years in ventures that aim to make the food and agriculture industry more sustainable and climate friendly. Montreal-based CDPQ, one of Canada's biggest pension funds, said it has formed a co-investment partnership with S2G Ventures, an investment firm that targets companies working to improve the overall health and sustainability of the food system.

Grains Exports Expected to Stay Steady This Week -- Market Talk

13:01 ET - Grains traders surveyed by WSJ say that they expect export sales of grains to stay largely consistent with last week's sales total. Most notably, corn export sales are expected to range anywhere from 1.05M metric tons to 1.8M tons, while soybeans are expected to total anywhere from 1.6 M tons to 3M tons. If the actual totals are anywhere close to last weeks' figures, then export sales could end up on the high side of those estimates--providing a buoy for CBOT grain futures. Corn is down 0.2% Wednesday, while soybeans are off 0.1% and wheat is down 1.6%. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @ kirkmaltais)

FUTURES MARKETS

Livestock Futures Finish Higher Ahead of Major USDA Reports -- Market Talk

14:51 ET - Livestock futures trading on the CME finished today higher -- with live cattle futures finishing up 0.9% to $1.112 per pound and lean hog futures up 0.4% to 64.35 cents per pound. In both cases, major USDA reports are expected to cap off the week - with the quarterly hogs and pigs report being released at 3pm ET tomorrow, and the monthly cattle on feed report coming out 3pm ET on Friday. For the hogs and pigs report, analysts are mostly expecting the total hog supply to be up from this time last year, by as much as 6%. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Sep 23

All figures are on a per-head basis.

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

Sep 23       +$ 46.05            +$ 62.52
Sep 22       +$ 45.26            +$ 62.07
Sep 21       +$ 52.20            +$ 65.12

* 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  100.2
      (Percent of Year-Ago)      Select  109.5

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Wednesday rose 43 cents per hundred pounds, to $215.87, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose $1.30 per hundred pounds, to $207.60. The total load count was 169. Wholesale pork prices rose 21 cents, to $88.15 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  09-23-20 1746ET
  Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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