GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Wheat Futures Rise on U.S. Snow and Rain

CHICAGO--Wheat futures rose Friday as concern about crop damage supported a rally in the grain.

The Commodity Weather Group said 20% of the winter wheat crop in the western U.S. Plains was at risk of damage as a cold snap this weekend brings snow to the region.

Nafta Posturing Takes Bite Out of Agriculture Markets

Agriculture markets, already in a fallow period, could have even rockier times ahead.

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U.S. agricultural commodities with important trade relationships with Canada and Mexico--including corn, wheat, soybeans and lean hogs --are facing renewed concern about President Donald Trump's intentions for the North American Free Trade Agreement.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Agco Beats Estimates; Raises 2017 Guidance -- Market Talk

11:36 ET - AGCO easily tops analysts' 1Q expectations by reporting an adjusted loss of 2c/share on $1.63B of sales vs. consensus for a 17c loss on $1.54B of sales. Including restructuring costs and other items, the farm-equipment manufacturer lost $10.1M, or 13c. AGCO raises its 2017 EPS guidance to about $2.70 from $2.50. AGCO was aided by a 54% increase in 1Q sales in South America, where the company reports improving farming conditions in Brazil and Argentina. Sales from Europe and the Middle East--AGCO's biggest market--slipped 0.7% to $892.5M; North American sales were off 6.3% at $382.6M. CFO Andy Beck says AGCO's focus this year is largely unchanged from 2016: "Managing our costs and lowering dealer and company inventories to align ourselves with lower customer demand." AGCO down 1.1% at $63.43. (robert.tita@wsj.com; @bob_tita)

Brazil Markets Have Mixed Reaction to General Strike -- Market Talk

11:19 ET - A general strike in Brazil on Friday, called to protest plans to reform pension and labor laws, has had little effect on the stock market, but is helping push the dollar higher against the real, according to Pedro Paulo Silveira, chief economist at the Nova Futura brokerage in Sao Paulo. The benchmark Ibovespa stocks index was up 0.78% at noon, while the real weakened to 3.1988 to the dollar at the same time, from 3.1760 at the close on Thursday. The stock market is reacting more to a recent string of good earnings reported by Brazilian companies, Silveira said. The forex market is more sensitive to concerns about the success of the reform proposals, he said. (jeffrey.lewis@wsj.com)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Rally as April Contract Expires

CHICAGO -- Cattle futures jumped on Friday, extending an April rally as beef prices rise.

The April live cattle contract hit $1.38 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange before expiring, with the CME June contract gaining 2.1% to close at $1.24025 a pound.

Hedge funds have piled into cattle futures positions, with open interest soaring to record levels, on the back of optimism about plentiful demand for beef this summer. Funds have been taking cues from meatpackers, who paid as much as $1.40 a pound for cattle on the cash market this week.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 28, 2017 17:37 ET (21:37 GMT)