GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Wheat Futures Soar on Drought Worries

Drought conditions pushed spring wheat futures past $7 a bushel for the first time in almost three years as a six-week rally resumed and spilled over into Chicago contracts.

Recent rain has come too late to save much of crop in the northern Plains in a move some analysts said could trigger "ration pricing" and drive futures toward $8 as millers seek high-quality grain.

Hard red winter wheat contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade gained from the soft grain's advance and the July contract gained 4 cents, or 0.9%, to $4.57 1/4. Soybean futures rose 2 3/4 cents, or 0.3%, to $9.14 and corn settled down 2 1/2 cents, or 0.7%, at $3.56 3/4.

Monsanto Results Boosted by Soybean Seeds and Traits Business -- Update

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Higher soybean plantings in the U.S. this spring boosted biotech seed giant Monsanto Co.'s quarterly profit, despite the broader slump in agricultural commodity prices.

Farmers this year have dedicated more acres to soybeans after a string of record-breaking harvests have eroded the price of widely grown crops like corn and wheat. Soybean prices had fared better due to strong demand from China and elsewhere, though prices have declined as farmers ramped up planting. Heavy rain this spring also forced some farmers to switch some corn fields to soybeans, which typically can be planted later.

A 29% increase in quarterly sales for soybean seeds and crop genes prompted Monsanto on Wednesday to maintain its forecast earnings of $4.09 to $4.55 a share for its fiscal year, which wraps up Aug. 31. Shares climbed 0.9% to $118.36.

Yogurt Declines Continue to Hurt General Mills -- 2nd Update

General Mills Inc.'s new chief executive said he would invest in turning around declining sales as the struggling yogurt business continues to weigh on the company.

General Mills said revenue fell short of its standards as sales declined for the eighth straight quarter.

The company expects organic net sales, which exclude currencies and deals, to continue to fall in the new fiscal year, declining 1% to 2% in all. Organic sales fell 3% in the company's just-completed fourth quarter.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Nestlé's Future May See Less Reliance on Packaged Foods

ZURICH -- The world's biggest packaged-food company may be cutting back on packaged food.

Nestlé SA outlined a far-reaching strategic shift this week, days after activist investor Daniel Loeb, who has accumulated a 1.25% stake, asked for big changes. Nestlé promised new investment in its high-growth business like bottled water, coffee, infant nutrition and pet care. It also signaled it would consider consumer health-care acquisitions.

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures Hit 2 1/2-Year High on Pork Demand

CHICAGO--U.S. hog futures settled at their highest level in 2 1/2 years Wednesday, buoyed by robust demand from meatpackers and grocery stores.

Consumers' hunger for bacon and hot dogs, as well as strengthening sales of pork loins, helped lift wholesale pork prices as well as lean hog futures, with July futures settling 1.7% higher at 87.97 cents a pound. Cattle futures also rose.

Despite hog farmers' expanding herds and an ebb in export demand, domestic pork consumption has kept the hog market humming. Since the beginning of June, lean hog futures traded at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have gained 7.4%.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 28, 2017 16:57 ET (20:57 GMT)