TOP STORIES

 

McDonald's, Chick-fil-A, Popeyes and Other Chains Bite Into the Fervor for Chicken

The hottest item in the burger business is chicken.

At least 10 major U.S. fast-food chains have introduced fried-chicken sandwiches in the past three months, or are set to shortly. Many of those peddling the new poultry items are better known as hamburger chains, including McDonald's Corp., Shake Shack Inc. and Jack in the Box Inc.

 

STORIES OF INTEREST

 

Steak 'n Shake Taps Adviser for Possible Debt Restructuring -- Update

Steak 'n Shake Inc. is preparing for a possible financial restructuring and has hired an advisory firm to evaluate options as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to hit the casual-dining sector hard, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Indianapolis-based burger-and-milkshake chain hired FTI Consulting Inc. to advise on a restructuring strategy, the people said. Steak 'n Shake, owned by entrepreneur Sardar Biglari's eponymous holding company, has struggled with restrictions on indoor dining and has a $153 million loan coming due in March, they said.

 

Dairy Prices Advance Again in Auction 'Rip-Snorter' -- Market Talk

1631 ET - ASB's assessment of the Global Dairy Trade auction overnight: Another rip-snorter. Whole milk powder prices lifted 2.2%, skimmed milk powder rose 7.0%, and anhydrous milk fat jumped 17%. Butter prices rose 4.6%, in contrast to market expectations of a fall, ASB said. "All the indicators continue to suggest demand for dairy products is likely to hold up well, through to the end of the season," ASB said. "Solid purchases from China have anchored price gains at recent auctions, and with the latest Chinese GDP figures showing a decent lift in GDP, there is little reason to think that story will change." (david.winning@wsj.com; @dwinningWSJ)

 

La Nina Seen as Potentially Weakening in Late Winter -- Market Talk

12:33 ET - The La Nina climate condition seen throughout this winter is expected to continue into the spring - but how strong it is could have notable effects on winter wheat crops and planting conditions for spring row crops. In a virtual forum Tuesday, meteorologists with DTN forecast that the current La Nina climate has so far kept winter warm in most areas of the country, reducing national heating demand and limiting snowfall. However, if La Nina weakens in the coming months, then winter wheat crops could be exposed to a round of heavier snowfall - and temperatures on the colder side heading into the spring planting season. Grain futures are trading lower on the CBOT Tuesday. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

 

Soybeans Drop as Profit Taking Extends

Soybeans for March delivery fell 2.2% to $13.85 3/4 a bushel, on the Chicago Board of Trade Tuesday, with managed money funds extending their selling of grains futures for a second straight session.

Corn for March delivery fell 1% to $5.26 a bushel.

Wheat for March delivery fell 0.5% to $6.72 1/4 a bushel.

 

FUTURES MARKETS

 

Lower Feedlot Placement Lifts Cattle Futures -- Market Talk

15:02 ET - Most-active live cattle futures trading on the CME closed 1% higher at $1.1935 per pound. That makes it three straight sessions that cattle futures have risen, with strength in grains futures limiting the amount of cattle that is making their way to feedlots for slaughter. "Rising feed costs, lower feedlot placements during the last three months, and a waning pandemic next summer have bolstered deferred fed cattle futures," says Steiner Consulting. Meanwhile, lean hog futures finished 2.1% lower to 66.475 cents per pound. (kirk.maltais@wsj.com; @kirkmaltais)

 

CASH MARKETS

 
Estimated U.S. Pork Packer Margin Index - Jan 19 
 
 This report reflects U.S. pork packer processing margins. The margin indices 
are calculated using current cash hog or carcass values and wholesale pork 
cutout values and may not reflect actual margins at the plants. These 
estimates reflect the general health of the industry and are not meant to 
be indicative of any particular company or plant. 
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 
 
Jan 19       +$ 40.72            +$ 33.98 
Jan 18       +$ 45.75            +$ 36.18 
Jan 15       +$ 47.49            +$ 39.51 
 
* 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  101.6 
      (Percent of Year-Ago)      Select   97.0 
 
USDA Boxed Beef, Pork Reports 

Wholesale choice-grade beef prices Tuesday rose $2.45 per hundred pounds, to $217.49, according to the USDA. Select-grade prices rose 60 cents per hundred pounds, to $206.44. The total load count was 148. Wholesale pork prices fell $1.02, to $76.21 a hundred pounds, based on Omaha, Neb., price quotes.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 19, 2021 17:25 ET (22:25 GMT)

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