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  • Writer's pictureKevin Hurley

Marketbites: Beef Prices Near Record-Highs


Portfolio Manager Commentary:

Stocks advanced Thursday after the U.S. House passed a debt ceiling bill in a crucial step to avoid a default, now the measure is moving to the Senate. The Dow index traded up 0.47% despite a 4.7% tumble in Salesforce shares a day after its earnings report. Meanwhile, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at their highest levels since August 2022.

“Anytime a big negative or a big potential negative catalyst is removed, it helps remove some uncertainty from the market,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird. “But at the same time, the equity market, at least, had really looked through this story.”

Beyond the debt ceiling battle, investors are looking ahead to the Federal Reserve’s June 13-14 policy meeting as another possible market catalyst. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker said Thursday that he thinks the central bank is near the point of being able to stop interest rate hikes. But he said earlier in the week that Friday’s payrolls report could change impact how he’ll vote at the upcoming gathering.

Chart of the Day:

Hamburgers and steaks, already near record-level prices, are set to get more expensive. The culprit is a rapidly shrinking supply of cattle. Years of persistent drought conditions, which make cattle more expensive to raise, pandemic disruptions, and widespread cost increases have prompted ranchers to sell off livestock, bringing the number of cattle in the U.S. to its lowest level in nearly a decade. U.S. beef production is on track to drop by more than 2 billion pounds in 2024, the biggest annual decline since 1979, according to Agriculture Department data.

With less beef available, consumers shouldn’t expect lower grocery bills for now. Prices for ground beef, up more than 20% since 2020, could hit record highs this summer during peak grilling season and an estimated average retail price of $5.33 a pound this year, according to analysts at agricultural lender Rabobank. Prices could add at least 15 to 25 cents in 2024, the analysts said.

Source: WSJ

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