GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Grain, Soybean Futures Lifted by Weather Premium

CHICAGO -- Grain and soybean futures inched higher Wednesday as speculation about the impact of inclement domestic weather continued to guide trading.

With enormous domestic and global stockpiles, traders are looking for any signs that poor weather might disrupt this year's harvest and ease the downward pressure on prices.

May wheat futures closed 0.3% higher at $4.43 a bushel in Wednesday's session at the Chicago Board of Trade. CBOT May corn closed up 0.6% at $3.66 1/4 a bushel.

Soybeans, which are at an earlier stage of planting than corn, rose 0.8% to $9.65 1/2 a bushel, the highest close since late March.

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USDA Secretary Perdue Says Farmers Won't Get a Worse Deal in Nafta Renegotiation -- 2nd Update

U.S. farmers and ranchers won't be worse off after the Trump administration renegotiates the North American Free Trade Agreement, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says.

Mr. Perdue, who was sworn in April 25, said in an interview that President Donald Trump needs to weigh Nafta's impact on all corners of the U.S. economy, not just agriculture. The 23-year-old agreement between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico has underpinned a boom in American crop and meat exports. Some in the farm sector fear revamping the pact could endanger those gains.

Bunge Lowers Outlook After EPS Miss -- Market Talk

7:14 ET - Bunge (BG) lowers its EBIT outlook as it earns only half of what the street was expecting in 1Q. BG says slow selling In South America, the same region it said would drive earning earlier this year, compressed margins during the quarter. Farmer selling is expected to pick up in the back half of the year, but BG lowers its FY17 EBIT outlook to $800M-$925M from $895M-$1.05B. In all for the quarter the company earned 35c per share on $11.12B in sales. Analysts were looking for 70c on $8.9B. Shares, inactive premarket, have gained 4.6% so far this year. (imani.moise@wsj.com; @moisenoise)

Grain Traders Have a Problem: Too Much Grain

The world's largest grain traders are struggling to boost profits from record-breaking harvests, rattling investors who see more big crops ahead.

Bunge Ltd., one of the biggest traders and processors of soybeans and corn, cut its profit projection for the year on Wednesday. Executives blamed a standoff between farmers reluctant to sell crops at low prices, and food processors with little incentive to purchase commodities in advance while prices are expected to stay low.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Bunge Eyes Buybacks, But Maybe Not Right Now -- Market Talk

9:47 ET - Shares of grain giant Bunge (BG) drop 9% after reporting 1Q earnings that far undershot analysts' expectations and reducing profit projections for the year, inspiring some analysts to ask CEO Soren Schroder whether the company will aggressively buy shares on today's dip. The answer: Probably not right now. Schroder says Bunge has several bolt-on acquisitions that need closing and is committed to maintaining a triple-B credit rating. Buying back stock "makes sense" but "we want to see how the next few months play out," he says. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

General Mills Operating Chief to Become CEO

General Mills Inc. said Wednesday that Chief Operating Officer Jeff Harmening will become its next chief executive, completing a transition plan set in motion last year.

Mr. Harmening succeeds Ken Powell, who will step down next month after a decade at the helm. Mr. Powell will remain chairman until he retires in 2018.

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Stampede to Upper Limit

CHICAGO--Cattle futures jumped to their daily upper limit on Wednesday as cash prices continued to rise.

Tight supplies of cattle and strong demand for beef have sent prices skyrocketing in recent weeks, as packers stock up on red meat ahead of celebrations on Mother's Day and Memorial Day.

All this has futures traders pouring into bets that prices will rise further. Live cattle futures for June delivery rose 2.4% to $1.30050 a pound in Wednesday's session at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hitting the daily upper limit of the exchange-mandated trading band. Contracts for August delivery also rose limit up.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 03, 2017 17:59 ET (21:59 GMT)