GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Grain, Soybean Futures Gain on Weaker Dollar

CHICAGO--Grain and soybean futures rose Friday as the dollar fell to fresh lows.

The weaker dollar, which took a hit after an underwhelming U.S. jobs report, threw U.S. agricultural exporters a lifeline at a time when they are facing tough competition from South American producers. The WSJ dollar index dropped 0.5% to 88.32.

But broader selling in the commodity sector, with crude-oil futures sliding further below $50 a barrel, limited gains.

Deere Acquisition Attracting Positive Reactions -- Market Talk

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12:22 ET - Deere (DE) gets rave reviews for buying German road-paving equipment maker Wirtgen for $5.2B. Gimme Credit calls it a "man bites dog" moment for the farm-equipment company, which has avoided large acquisitions in the past and patiently waited a decade or so for Wirtgen's family ownership to sell. JPMorgan and William Blair upgrade DE to neutral and market perform, respectively, as both firms describe Wirtgen as a good fit for DE. Wirtgen will expand the geographic reach of DE's construction-equipment business without any product overlaps. Deere doesn't make paving machinery and sells most of its earth-moving equipment in North America. The biggest risk: DE doesn't have much practice integrating large, private companies into its Midwestern corporate culture. Wirtgen has a reputation for high-quality equipment and exceptional customer service, like DE, but is a stranger to the US market. "The cultural fit is an unknown, though both companies appear to have similar values," JPM says. (robert.tita@wsj.com; @bob_tita)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Agriterra Sells Interest in Sierra Leone Cocoa Assets

LONDON--Agriterra Ltd. (AGTA.LN) said Friday it got rid of its interests in the cocoa business in Sierra Leone by selling stakes in Tropical Farms Ltd. and Tropical Farms Plantations Ltd. for $500,000.

The company will use the money from the sale for general operations, it said.

Consumer Companies Feel Pressure As Wage Growth Lags -- Market Talk

11:06 ET - Food makers and other consumer companies have said recently that even though the economy is improving, consumer spending has not followed with similar expansion as it usually does. Economists say that could explain why May's falling unemployment rate didn't come with the typical accelerating wage growth. Employers in certain industries are still reluctant to ramp up wages at a time when consumer spending is still choppy, they say. Friday's jobs report also suggests that some industries may have a tougher time finding workers going forward as unemployment hit a 16-year low. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

THE MARKETS:

Bullish Bets Push Cattle Futures Higher

CHICAGO -- Cattle futures jumped on Friday after beef packers paid sharply higher prices in the cash market.

With packer margins per animal well into triple digits, feedyards have raised asking prices for their cattle despite a tendency to slump at this time of year. That had hedge funds and money managers pouring into the futures trade, analysts said, as they took advantage of the heavy discount to cash to buy up contracts.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 02, 2017 17:16 ET (21:16 GMT)