LIVESTOCK HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

TOP STORIES

In Pilgrim's Chicken Plants, Hopes for Labor Relief

In the midst of a nationwide run on chicken, poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride aims to grow its flocks--those on farms as well as the workers who staff processing lines in the Colorado company's plants. The latter has long been tough for the meat industry, and Covid-19's rapid spread (https://www.wsj.com/articles/coronavirus-hits-meat-plants-as-some- workers-get-sick-others-stay-home-11586196511) through U.S. meat plants last year exacerbated the challenge.

Pilgrim's Chief Executive Fabio Sandri said on a Thursday conference call that short-staffed plants are costing the company money, and making it harder to fill orders. The restaurant industry views empty positions on processing lines as a chief impediment to putting more wings and chicken sandwiches on the plates of returning diners.

Federal Chicken Price-Fixing Probe Expands, Koch Charged -- Market Talk

1026 ET - The US Department of Justice's ongoing probe into price-fixing in the chicken industry expands, with an indictment filed in a federal court in Colorado charging Illinois-based poultry supplier Koch Foods with participating in the alleged activity. Koch is the sixth-largest US chicken company, representing about 6% of pounds produced, according to data from research firm Watt Poultry USA. Bigger competitor Pilgrim's Pride reached a plea deal with the DOJ on the allegations last fall, and Tyson Foods has been cooperating with the investigation under a corporate leniency program. Representatives of Koch have no immediate comment. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Yum Outpaces Pre-Pandemic Sales in the U.S.

Fast-food chain owner Yum Brands, which operates KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, reported rising same-store sales compared with 2019 levels in the U.S.

KFC says its U.S. same-store sales were up 19% in the second quarter compared with the same period in 2019.

STORIES OF INTEREST

Chicken Sandwich Delivers for KFC -- Market Talk

0902 ET - KFC's same-store sales in 2Q grew 19% in the US compared to the same period in 2019, and chain parent Yum Brands credits a new chicken sandwich for helping deliver that growth. "Our chicken sandwich performed exceptionally well and provides us with a solid platform to drive additional sales layers in the future," Yum CEO David Gibbs tells investors. McDonald's also credited its strong US sales in 2Q to new chicken sandwiches introduced this year as Americans flock to poultry. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

Agco Sees More Growth Left in Farm Machinery -- Market Talk

1253 ET - There's still growth left in the red-hot farm equipment market, says Agco CEO Eric Hansotia. He says the market is above the middle of the sales cycle, but not yet at a peak. "We still think there's room for this to play out for some time yet. There are low grain inventories. There's high commodity prices and there's still equipment replacement demand that's unmet yet from many years of farmers holding off on purchases," he says. Agco expects its production to be up 15% to 20% this year over 2020. Share up 3.7% at $130.42. (Robert.tita@wsj.com)

Bayer Plans for Roundup Litigation Claims Rising by $4.5 Billion

Bayer AG sees expenses from lawsuits accusing its Roundup weedkiller of causing cancer potentially rising by $4.5 billion -- significantly more than it had previously planned for.

The company will set aside the additional funds to cover Roundup claims in its next quarterly financial report, Bayer executives said Thursday. The new provisions would raise Bayer's funds earmarked for the claims to more than $16 billion from the $11.6 billion the company had previously said it would pay to resolve the cases.

FUTURES MARKETS

Hogs Rise, Cattle Slides After Export Reports -- Market Talk

1438 ET - Lean hogs close up 0.6% to $1.063 a pound in the wake of strong weekly exports reported by the USDA. The agency said that last week net sales of pork were 57% higher than in the previous week and 43% above the four-week average. The report comes after a case of African Swine Fever was confirmed in the Dominican Republic. Live cattle, meanwhile, slides 0.3% to $1.2815 a pound. The USDA said net exports of beef were down 11% from the previous week, though 28% above the four-week average. (paulo.trevisani@wsj.com; @ptrevisani)


  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  07-29-21 1714ET
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