GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Spring Wheat Jumps to Multiyear High on Poorer Crop

CHICAGO--Spring wheat futures rose to a two-and-a-half year high on Tuesday as drought-like weather continued to take a toll on the U.S. crop.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said late Monday that 41% of the spring wheat crop was in good or excellent condition, down from 45% last week and the lowest on record, according to research firm AgResource.

Spring wheat futures for July delivery rallied 2.6% to $6.56 1/4 a bushel at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, the highest close since Dec. 18, 2014. The strength in spring wheat prices also helped carry prices for other varieties of the grain.

Even the Best NAFTA Buddies Have Their Problems -- Market Talk

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15:17 ET - As NAFTA renegotiations loom in the weeks ahead, the top agricultural officials from the US, Canada and Mexico wrap up a two-day meeting in Georgia with a recommitment to "open and transparent trade" that they say has benefited all three countries' farmers and food makers. "While even the best trading partnerships face challenges from time to time, our agricultural differences are relatively few in the context of the $85B in agricultural trade that flows between our three nations each year," say USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue, Canadian agriculture minister Lawrence MacAulay, and Mexican agriculture secretary Jose Calzada. Friction over US trade policy has started to weigh on exports of some key agricultural goods, including soybean meal and chicken. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

With Whole Foods, Amazon Gets In-Store Shopping Data -- Market Talk

10:07 ET - Online, shoppers tend to be targeted. In store, they're more impulsive. With Amazon's (AMZN) $13.7B Whole Foods (WFM) acquisition, the online retail giant will be able to fill a gaping hole in its consumer knowledge pool by collecting data on how people shop and buy in stores. If the deal goes through, AMZN is likely to put a team of employees to work examining WFM's strategy, cost structures and business practices--as well as its data, according to former AMZN employees. Bringing together online and offline data can help AMZN learn how to entice customers to make more impulse purchases online. (laura.stevens@wsj.com; @laurastevenswsj)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

India Raises Minimum Support Price for Summer Crops to Help Farmers

NEW DELHI--The Indian government has increased its minimum purchase price for summer crops including rice and soybeans to help farmers through a supply glut.

The government's minimum support price--the price at which it buys commodities--for rice has been increased by 5.4% to 1,550 rupees ($24.03) per 100 kilograms for this year, from 1,470 rupees last year, said a government official, who didn't want to be named. The government has also increased the price at which it buys soybeans by 9.9% and its price for different varieties of lentils by more than 7%, the official said.

JBS to Sell US Cattle Business -- Market Talk

09:21 ET - Embattled meatpacker JBS is looking to sell US cattle feedlots as the Brazilian company works to raise cash and reduce debt amid a wide-ranging corruption scandal that's ensnared its top executives. JBS' Colorado-based Five Rivers subsidy runs the biggest US cattle feedlot operation with capacity for more than 1M cattle across 13 US and Canadian locations, was acquired in 2008 as JBS pushed into the US meat industry through a series of big deals. But the move to divest follows the exit of Cargill, another top player in US beef processing, which sold its four feedlots over the past year as the business of fattening-up cattle before slaughter has grown more challenging, partly due to low cattle prices. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Nestle Buys Stake in Freshly, Putting Healthy Food Deliveries Top of the Menu

Nestlé SA has bought a stake in a subscription meals startup--a small investment in home-delivered food that comes as the Swiss food and drinks giant struggles with slow-growing demand.

The company said Tuesday it had bought a minority interest in Freshly, as the lead investor in a $77 million funding round. Freshly sells healthy, prepared meals to consumers across the U.S. using a subscription-based model.

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures Rise on Higher Belly Prices

CHICAGO -- Hog futures climbed just shy of a year-high on Tuesday as strong demand for pork helped push prices upward.

A pound of wholesale pork rose 3.15 cents to 98.79 cents a pound as of Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Pork bellies, which have been volatile this year due to tight supplies, jumped 11.12 cents to $1.8406 a pound.

Contracts for feeder cattle, younger herds that need to be fattened before slaughter, fell to a month low after the announcement as traders bet that would disrupt the U.S. trade. But futures regained some ground, with CME August contracts closing 0.7% lower at $1.43925 a pound.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 20, 2017 17:28 ET (21:28 GMT)