LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

TOP STORIES

Marfrig, ADM-Backed JV Joins Plant-Based Fray -- Market Talk

1229 ET - Two of the world's top big-agriculture companies are taking the startup route to tap the plant-based foods surge. Marfrig, one of the world's biggest beef companies, and Archer Daniels Midland, a top supplier of animal feed, are formally launching a 70-30 joint venture called PlantPlus Foods that will make pea protein-based products, drawing on ADM's ingredients and crop-processing technology, and Marfrig's burger production and distribution network. Chicago- based PlantPlus will go up against entrenched players Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, as well as big food-backed efforts from Nestle, Tyson Foods and Hormel Foods. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Dunkin' Brands in Talks to be Acquired by Arby's Parent

The parent of Dunkin' and Baskin-Robbins said it has held early talks to go private in an acquisition by Inspire Brands, whose portfolio includes Arby's, Buffalo Wild Wings and Jimmy John's chains.

The acquisition offer comes as the coffee, doughnut and ice cream chain has wrestled with lower sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company in late July said it would close around 800 U.S. locations that had low sales volumes and were mostly unprofitable before the pandemic.

STORIES OF INTEREST

USDA Confirms Farmers Paid $7B in Aid -- Market Talk

14:13 ET - US farmers have received over $7B in aid as part of the second round of coronavirus-relief payments, the USDA says. "America's agriculture communities are resilient, but still face many challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic," says Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "These payments directed by President Trump will continue to help this critical industry recoup some of their losses from ongoing market disruptions and associated costs." Farmers say aid payments from the US government have been an important cushion keeping many from otherwise declaring bankruptcy. According to the USDA, the Farm Service Agency has approved more than 443,000 applications, with the top five states for payments being Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois and Kansas. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

Germany's Restaurant Sector Is Hard-Hit by Coronavirus Crisis -- Market Talk

0821 GMT - The measures recently taken to contain the pandemic in Germany, which include regional lockdowns, social contact restrictions and curfews, are once again hitting restaurants particularly hard, German statistics office Destatis says. The sector has recorded substantial declines since businesses had to close in March because of the virus, with turnover in real terms down 40.5% in the March-August period compared with the same period a year earlier, Destatis says. The largest monthly year-on-year decrease of turnover was recorded in April, when it fell 68%. Since then, business has been gradually recovering. In August, turnover in restaurants was only 22% lower on the year, according to Destatis. (maria.martinez@wsj.com)

FUTURES MARKETS

Cattle Futures Steady as US Herd Rises -- Market Talk

15:28 ET - Live cattle futures trading on the CME finish slightly lower, down 0.2% to $1.034 per pound. According to the USDA's cattle on feed report released following the market's close Friday, as of October 1 the total inventory of US cattle in feedlots with +1000 head capacity was estimated at 11.72M head, 429,000 head or 3.8% higher than a year ago. However, livestock traders think that cattle weights are trending higher, which may lead to higher cattle head counts in future reports. "We think current fed weights are now as much as 3% above year ago levels," says Steiner Consulting Group. Meanwhile, lean hog futures closed up 1.1% to 67.75 cents per pound. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

CASH MARKETS

Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Oct 26

Source: USDA, based on Wall Street Journal calculations
All figures are on a per-head basis.

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

Oct 26       +$ 55.10            +$ 68.01
Oct 23       +$ 60.18            +$ 69.79
Oct 22       +$ 71.75            +$ 84.67

* 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   92.2
      (Percent of Year-Ago)      Select   94.3

USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Monday rose 34 cents per hundred pounds, to $207.83, according to the USDA. Select- grade prices fell $2.91 per hundred pounds, to $188.49. The total load count was XXX. Wholesale pork prices fell 83 cents, to $90.70 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  10-26-20 1727ET
  Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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