GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Higher Crude Prices Help Corn, Soybeans

Corn and soybean futures continued to rally on weather concerns and rising oil prices.

Crude oil futures jumped after the U.S. government reported a larger-than-expected fall in stocks. August contracts at the New York Mercantile Exchange rose as high as $47.26 a barrel on Wednesday.

Corn futures for September delivery rose 1.5% to $3.82 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, while August soybean contracts climbed 1% to $9.99 3/4 a bushel.

Bunge Plans Cost Cuts as Tough Quarter Projected -- Market Talk

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16:22 ET - Bunge (BG) announces plans to cut $250M in annual costs as it notifies investors 2Q results will come in worse than Wall Street analysts have anticipated, though still "modestly profitable." The grain trader doesn't report until Aug. 2, but it's looking to get ahead of what investors have expected would be a tough quarter, which BG officials attribute to "unprecedented" refusal by Brazilian farmers to market crops to grain companies and other challenging conditions. Also on BG investors' minds: rival commodity firm Glencore's (GLEN.LN) confirmation in May that it approached BG about a deal. BG falls 3.4% to $76 in after-hours trading. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Crop-Seed Sales to Lift DuPont Profit -- Market Talk

11:42 ET - A surprisingly strong quarterly profit from seed giant Monsanto (MON) last month sets the stage for its agricultural archrival, DuPont (DD), to best analysts' expectations when the chemical conglomerate reports quarterly results July 25, according to a Bernstein report. The firm anticipates rising sales of new genetically engineered soybeans and growing sales of DuPont seeds in Brazil to help offset pesticide sales dampened by the wet North American spring and slowing plastics business due to an auto sales slump. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters on average expect DuPont to earn $1.1B for the quarter; Bernstein figures it at $1.2B. DD up 1%. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Spice Maker McCormick Adds French's Mustard to Its Shelf -- 4th Update

Turns out, there is some appetite for all that packaged food for sale.

McCormick & Co. said it agreed to acquire Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC's food division, whose brands include French's mustard, for $4.2 billion, the latest in a wave of deal activity in the global packaged-foods sector.

The transaction comes three months after the U.K. company put its food unit up for sale. Analysts at the time estimated that it could be worth $2.5 billion to $4 billion.

THE MARKETS:

Higher Cash Cattle Prices Support Futures

Cattle futures reversed course to bounce higher as beefpackers spent more at a closely watched online auction.

Packers paid an average of $1.1827 a pound for around 700 cattle at Wednesday morning's Fed Cattle Exchange online auction. Sales volume fell sharply from the previous week, though prices were higher than expected. The U.S. Department of Agriculture also reported on Wednesday some 4,100 head of cattle sold at an average of $1.17 a pound live and $1.881 a pound dressed the previous day.

Gains in the meat and cash markets helped cattle futures turn higher, too, changing direction after falling earlier this week. Live cattle contracts for August delivery rose 1.9% to $1.17275 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, while feeder cattle futures also rose.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 19, 2017 17:37 ET (21:37 GMT)