U.S. poultry shares fall as chicken flu prompts bans
Monday February 9, 11:08 am ET
CHICAGO, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Shares of poultry companies Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN - News), Pilgrim's Pride (NYSE:PPC - News), and Sanderson Farms (NasdaqNM:SAFM - News) fell sharply on Monday as export markets banned U.S. poultry after avian influenza was discovered in Delaware.
"We are currently in wait-and-see mode until further information on the discovery of AI is revealed," said Leonard Teitelbaum, a food industry analyst with Merrill Lynch.
The United States exports about 15 percent of its chicken production, earning it some $2 billion a year in revenue, Teitelbaum said.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said the strain of avian flu found in Delaware was less severe than the one that has spread through Asia. There was no evidence the Delaware strain transmits to humans, a spokesman said.
Japan and South Korea banned imports of U.S. chicken over the weekend.
Tyson shares were down 57 cents, or 3 percent, at $16.46 on the New York Stock Exchange (News - Websites) on Monday morning and Pilgrim's Pride shares were down $2.07, or 10 percent, at $18.49. In over-the-counter trading Sanderson Farms shares were down $2.84, or 5 percent, at $51.301.
Tyson is the nation's largest chicken producer, Pilgrim's Pride is No. 2, and Sanderson Farms is sixth.