GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Grain Futures Sink as Traders Unwind Weather Bets

CHICAGO -- Grain futures retreated Thursday as traders unwound bets that bad weather would affect this year's crops.

Corn and wheat futures rose earlier in the week after a bout of heavy snow and rain froze, soaked or crushed crops in parts of the Midwest and Plains. But inconclusive evidence of damage, combined with large stocks that limited any potential upside, prompted a selloff.

Wheat futures for July delivery tanked 3.6% at the Chicago Board of Trade, closing at $4.37 3/4 a bushel. CBOT July corn futures fell 2.2% to $3.66 1/2 a bushel.

Andersons the Latest Farm Stock to Drop -- Market Talk

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12:32 ET - Ohio grain company The Andersons (ANDE) reports a $3.1M net loss for 1Q, much improved from a $14.7M loss for the same period last year, but not enough to escape the crosshairs of bearish investors who've had it in for agribusiness firms this week. It's much the same story for ANDE -- like its larger rivals Bunge (BG) and ADM, executives say that farmers have been slow to sell grain to merchandisers such as ANDE because they don't like the low prices, which has crimped trading and processing business. And like its rivals, ANDE shares drop, recently down 6.5%. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Kellogg Stung by Consumer, Retailer Habit Shifts -- Market Talk

8:53 ET - Kellogg (K) CEO John Bryant says, as sales slip 4.1%, that the food maker went up against "an unusually challenging environment for packaged food companies, including a period of industry-wide softening of consumption trends" in 1Q. This as grocery stores are giving better play to items in favor with increasingly health-conscious consumers--such as fresh food, prepared hot meals, and items from local upstarts--instead of promoting canned soup, cereal and cookies from companies like Kraft Heinz (KHC), Kellogg and Mondelez (MDLZ). K says it was particularly hurt by US morning foods, US snacks, and in Europe, three areas where its results were "meaningfully lower-than-trend" and weighed down overall results. K, whose EPS beats, edged down 0.6% to $68.50 premarket. (joshua.jamerson@wsj.com; @joshjame)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Food Prices Slip in April Due to Cheaper Grain, Oil, Sugar

LONDON--World food prices slipped in April due to weaker grain and vegetable oil markets, the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization said Thursday.

The FAO's food price index fell by 1.8% last month from March, but was 10% higher than in April 2016.

Food Industry Applauds GMO Marketing Money -- Market Talk

15:39 ET - Big food companies are applauding $3M in funding tucked into the pending federal budget bill that will promote products with ingredients using genetically-modified crops as safe for public consumption. The funding "will help counter the misinformation about agricultural biotechnology in social media and the public domain," the Grocery Manufacturers Association says in a statement. Pushback over GMOs have been a headache for the food industry, with companies trying to delay labeling provisions passed during the past administration. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

THE MARKETS:

Livestock Futures Extend Gains as Cattle Hit Upper Limit

CHICAGO--Cattle futures surged to their expanded upper limit on Thursday as tight supplies fuel a steep run-up in prices.

Futures closed slightly lower than their latest intraday peak but still extended the month-long rally. Weeks of high prices on the cash market have encouraged feed yards to sell cattle at lighter weights than usual, which has created a supply pinch.

Live cattle futures for June delivery rose 4.5 cents to $1.3455 a pound at Thursday's opening on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, hitting the exchange-mandated daily limit for the third consecutive day, before closing 1.25 cents higher at $1.31300 a pound.

Wholesale beef rose 1.25 cents to $2.34 a pound on Thursday morning, with Americans preparing to fire up grills on upcoming holidays like Memorial Day.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 04, 2017 17:37 ET (21:37 GMT)