GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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USDA Boosts Soybean Stock Forecasts, Wheat Production

CHICAGO--Grain and soybean futures were mixed in a choppy session on Friday as traders digested a government supply-and-demand report before refocusing on domestic weather threats.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast on Friday increased loads of American soybeans sitting in domestic bins, as growing South American production limits farmers' ability to sell the surplus in the global export market.

Cargill Offloads Power and Gas Units to Macquarie -- Market Talk

17:05 ET - After Macquarie Group (MQG.AU) took Cargill's petroleum-trading business off the agricultural conglomerate's hands in March, Macquarie is back with a deal to buy Cargill's power and gas businesses as well. The business expands Macquarie's reach in energy and commodities, where it finances deals for clients and provides trading services. For Cargill, it's another step in the Minnesota food conglomerate's years-long effort to trim away branches of its vast global empire and focus investment on its core agricultural business and food operations that hold higher profit margins; Cargill also suffered a power-trading loss in 2014 that dented quarterly profits. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

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STORIES OF INTEREST:

Wheat Slides, But for How Long? -- Market Talk

13:14 ET - Wheat prices take a hit after the USDA lifts its view of grain supplies in the U.S. and overseas, but there's still time for recent bouts of bad weather to send shock waves through the market. In a monthly report, the government raises its estimates for domestic and world wheat stockpiles versus month-ago projections, but analysts say federal forecasts likely don't take into account a late-season snowstorm in Kansas and drought-like conditions in the northern Plains that could hurt crop yields. "If we do have a drought, the market could really take off," says Craig Turner, senior broker at Daniels Trading in Chicago. CBOT July wheat prices recently down 0.3% to $4.48/bu. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

Barclays Encourages Food Industry to Trade Brands -- Market Talk

16:58 ET - Barclays analyst Andrew Lazar conjures up a playbook for big packaged food companies that need to rid themselves of noncore brands, likening the trading to his fantasy football league. He points to Conagra's (CAG) recent sale of Wesson cooking oil to Smucker (SJM) as an example of this, since it frees CAG up to focus on its bigger, stronger brands and provides SJM with greater scale in the commoditized category. While such deals are "unlikely to solve the industry's growth challenges, we would not be surprised to see more," Lazar says in a note to investors. Other big players, such as General Mills (GIS), Kellogg (K) and Campbell Soup (CPB) have discussed steps to determine which of their brands merit the most investment and which should be managed for profit--a strategy that can serve as a precursor to divestitures, he adds. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Mixed; Hogs Higher on Weather Concerns

CHICAGO -- Cattle futures were mixed on Friday on light trading volume in the cash market.

Trade was thin in southern states, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but packers bought some cattle in eastern Nebraska and Iowa for around $1.36 to $1.37 a pound live, and $2.18 to $2.20 a pound dressed.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 09, 2017 17:33 ET (21:33 GMT)