GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Buyers Return to Grain Futures Markets

Corn and wheat futures bounced Wednesday, while soybean prices sagged.

Analysts said that chart patterns in the corn and wheat market sparked buying interest among traders.

Corn futures for December delivery rose 0.8% to $3.39 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, while December wheat futures rose 1.4% to $4.16 1/2 a bushel.

Ags May be Late to Global Growth Party Next Year -- Market Talk

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1643 GMT - After "one of the bleakest years in many... the outlook in 2018 is more constructive," for agricultural commodities, says Tracey Allen, agricultural commodities strategist at J.P. Morgan, speaking at the International Sugar Organization's annual seminar in London. An improving outlook for the energy sector may lift all commodities boats, she continues, adding that the "sustained upswing in global energy prices really is... [putting] a floor in agri-commodity markets, particularly in those that can be used in ethanol production." That said, sugar has been an "anomaly" in seeing few benefits from "above-trend global growth" which has affected equities, energy, and metals markets.(david.hodari@wsj.com; @davidhodari)

Whole Foods Stocking More Conventional Food -- Market Talk

10:42 ET - Conventional suppliers are getting new prominence at Whole Foods stores, with Tropicana Orange Juice, Domino Sugar and Glaceau Vitamin Water prominently on display, according to a Barclays Capital survey of stores. Whole Foods is known for organic, natural goods from small suppliers, but has begun to feature more conventional foods and lower prices to appeal to a greater range of shoppers. Some small suppliers are turning to other grocery chains to debut their products in response. Amazon.com bought Whole Foods this summer. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

AgriGiants Not Yet Out of the Woods: Credit Suisse -- Market Talk

1627 GMT - "There won't be much excitement about putting capital into the market" when it comes to the profit expectations of big agribusiness firms like the ABCD companies (ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Louis Dreyfus), says Simon Taurins managing director of investment banking at Credit Suisse Securities. Speaking at the International Sugar Organization's annual seminar in London, he says agribusiness M&A will demonstrate how industry giants are trying to stave off the impact of a dismal period. Substantial consolidation -- such as in the seeds market -- majors moving out of non-core areas and a focus on speciality products are all among the industry's bag of tricks. "How long with the wait be? Well, the equity market at least needs to see profit boosts before any change [in investments]." (david.hodari@wsj.com; @davidhodari)

Mars Bites Into KIND Bars

Mars Inc. is buying a piece of snack-bar maker KIND LLC, the latest move by an established food company to strengthen its standing in the fast-growing market for healthier treats and meals.

The fruit-and-nut bars KIND began selling in 2004 helped establish a growing market for lower-sugar food with relatively simple recipes. Grocers began stocking the bars at check-out aisles in place of candy such as Mars's M&M's. Stalwarts Kellogg Co. and General Mills Inc. raced to create similar products. Mars, too, is working to reduce sugar content and removing artificial ingredients in its foods and candy.

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Climb, as Hogs Fall

Cattle futures rose to a two-week high on Wednesday.

Traders were unconcerned by falling wholesale beef prices, instead looking to the week's cash trade. Many anticipated higher prices, though sales didn't surface during Wednesday's session.

Meatpackers didn't buy any cattle at a closely watched online Fed Cattle Exchange auction in the morning, the second consecutive week with no sales. Packers elsewhere bid around $117 to $118 per 100 pounds on a live basis, market observers said, with feedyards asking for $121 and above.

Analysts said futures traders were pushing up the market in anticipation of higher cash prices. December live-cattle futures rose 0.7% to $1.20475 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the highest close since Nov. 13.

Hog futures fell after opening higher. Both cash and meat prices were trending upward on Wednesday, with wholesale pork rising $1.32, to $83.55 per 100 pounds, at midday and physical hog prices expected steady to $1 higher.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 29, 2017 17:43 ET (22:43 GMT)