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U.S. Poultry Flu Cases Impact Companies

NEW YORK - The shares of major U.S. poultry companies and prices of key feed ingredients fell on Thursday, as a poultry flu was discovered in two more states, according to Reuters. The industry fears that the incidents may cause a lengthy halt to chicken exports.

Several countries banned U.S. chicken after the bird flu virus, which is not harmful to humans, was found on two Delaware farms since the weekend. On Thursday, cases were also found in a New Jersey live poultry market and in a Pennsylvania flock.

Tyson Foods Inc. shares closed on Thursday at $16.53, down 42 cents per share, or 2.48 percent, at the New York Stock Exchange. Pilgrim's Pride Corp. shares closed at $20.77, down 38 cents, or 2.48 percent. Sanderson Farms Inc., the nation's sixth largest poultry producer, closed at $54.46, down $3.83 or 6.57 percent, in over the counter trading.

The United States exports about 15 percent of its chicken production, according to Reuters.

In Delaware, 84,000 chickens have been slaughtered since Saturday after the virus was found on two farms.

The flu is the H7N2 strain and has occurred in the United States before.
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