Financial markets react to AI spread

by Erica Shaffer
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Financial markets are responding to concerns about the impact of an avian influenza outbreak. Shares in meat and poultry companies declined as the number of outbreaks continued to climb.

On April 21, shares of Hormel Foods Corp., Austin, Minn., closed down 2.3 percent after CEO Jeffrey Ettinger warned that tight supplies of turkey and operational challenges will weigh on earnings in the back half of fiscal 2015. Shares of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Tyson Foods, Inc. and Sanderson Farms, Inc. closed down less than 1 percent.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in response to the H5N2 outbreak in three counties in Wisconsin. State officials ordered a ban on poultry movement to shows, exhibitions and swap meets in Jefferson, Juneau or Barron counties. The executive order authorizes the Wisconsin National Guard to help contain the outbreak and assist in site cleanup. Up to 14 Guard personnel will be made available on a rotating schedule.

“We must act quickly and efficiently to contain the outbreak and protect domestic poultry,” Walker said. “It is important to note, however, there is no threat to humans with the avian flu outbreak.”
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