GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Drier Weather Pushes Grain, Soybean Futures Higher

Grain and soybean futures rose on renewed weather concerns, as less rain fell on the Corn Belt than expected.

Corn and soybean fields in Iowa, a key crop-growing state, got less moisture than initially thought and forecasters only expect significant showers to return to the Midwest in around two weeks. That puts up to a quarter of Midwest crops at risk of stress, Commodity Weather Group said.

From Brazil, a Parting Agricultural Gift for Dow -- Market Talk

10:16 ET - Dow Chemical (DOW) turns in a better-than-expected 2Q profit on the cusp of its merger with DuPont (DD), partly thanks to a Brazilian seed unit that Dow agreed to divest to seal the deal. Dow says Latin American corn seed sales were a big reason behind a double-digit sale increase for its crop-seed business, helping boost agricultural operating profit by 40.5%. Dow agreed this month to divest some of its Brazilian corn seed business in Brazil to China's CITIC Agri Fund for $1.1B, which includes seed processing plants and research centers, as well as a brand licensing deal. Dow up 0.7%. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

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P&G Organic Sales Rise Amid Proxy Fight -- Market Talk

8:31 ET - Procter & Gamble (PG), facing a proxy fight with activist investor Nelson Peltz, reported 2% organic sales increase for both the recent quarter and the fiscal year ended June 30. That's up from 1% growth in 2016. The company said it expects organic growth of 2%-3% next fiscal year. Peltz is fighting for a seat on P&G's board, arguing the company for years has failed to perform. P&G cast the most recent results as a victory for the company, with finance chief Jon Moeller describing the performance as "fantastic" in a call with reporters. PG gains 2.5% premarket. (sharon.terlep@wsj.com; @sharonterlep)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

IGC Cuts 2017-18 Grain Production Forecast on Dry Weather, Inches Up 2016-17 Estimate

LONDON--The International Grains Council cut its forecast for global total grains production by 11 million tons month-on-month to 2,038 million tons--a drop of 4% from the previous season's record--due to dry weather across North America, Australia, and the European Union, the body said Thursday.

Pinnacle Foods Says Investments Will Pay Off -- Market Talk

16:33 ET - Pinnacle Foods (PF) said consumption of its products rose 4.5% in the latest quarter compared to the prior year, when excluding some discontinued products, as it marked its 13th consecutive quarter of market-share growth. However, net sales, which fell 1.6%, missed analysts' expectations. PF's earnings were also hurt by unanticipated investments in its manufacturing system, which CEO Mark Clouse said will pay off in the long run. "A challenge in 2017 for sure, but one from which we fully expect to benefit next year. And combined with the strength of our underlying fundamentals, we remain confident," Clouse said. Clouse said Birds Eye frozen vegetables, Duncan Hines single-serving cake mixes and some of its health-oriented brands drove sales growth. Shares of PF fell 2.1%, but are still up 27% over the past year following speculation of takeover. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

Jordan Launches Another 100,000-Ton Wheat Tender

LONDON--The Jordanian state grain agency has issued another international tender to buy 100,000 tons of hard milling wheat, traders said on Thursday.

The new tender will be for wheat of optional origin, according to grains trade intelligence provider AgFlow.

THE MARKETS:

Livestock Futures End Mixed Session Mostly Higher

Hog futures traded sideways on lower cash-market and pork prices.

Pork prices were sharply lower Thursday, falling 1.17 cents to $98.84 a pound as of midday and were led by the sliding cost of pork bellies. Pork has stayed above $1 a pound in July, with pork bellies trading at record highs. A pound of pork belly was down over 3 cents to $2.1167 at midday.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 17:46 ET (21:46 GMT)