GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Wheat Futures Rise Ahead of Cold Snap

Wheat futures led gains in the grain market over concerns about cold weather threatening a key growing region.

Weather forecasts for the Great Plains show temperatures next week dropping enough to potentially damage the winter wheat crop, which is in the early stages of its growing season.

Wheat futures for March rose 1% to $4.23 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, trading just short of a one-month high.

Fears of Farm Spending Cuts Loom After Tax Bill -- Market Talk

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13:34 ET - With a sweeping tax bill now en route to President Trump's desk for signature, one farm group fears spending cuts hurtful to the nation's farmers are next. Plenty of farm groups supported the Republican tax overhaul, passed now by both the House and Senate. But the National Farmers Union, which advocates for small farmers, predicts danger for programs that support farmers and help low-income families buy food. "This tax bill leaves a $1.5 trillion hole in the budget - a hole that some members of Congress will want to fill with farm program and entitlement spending cuts," said Roger Johnson, the group's president, who vowed to fight cuts during a slump in the farm economy. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

General Mills Gets Boost From Cereal, Snacks

General Mills Inc. said its snack and cereal sales are improving in the U.S. as more people nibble throughout the day in place of larger meals.

Stronger sales in General Mills' second quarter marked important progress for a company that has struggled in recent years as older brands like Betty Crocker and Hamburger Helper fell out of favor and newer products like Yoplait yogurt lost market share to rivals.

Overall, General Mills' revenue rose 2.1% in the second quarter to $4.2 billion. Profit for the quarter ended Nov. 26 fell to $430.5 million from $481.8 million the prior year. Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings of 82 cents matched analysts' expectations according to FactSet, while revenue results topped their projection.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Longtime Food Lobbyist Joins Senate Staff -- Market Talk

11:28 ET - As jockeying over the next US farm bill gets into gear, a longtime food-industry lobbyist is joining the staff of Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kan.), chairman of the Senate's agriculture committee. Roberts hires Robert Rosado, who joins from the Food Marketing Institute, where he advocated for grocery stores and distributors for seven years. Prior to that, Rosado worked for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, which represents makers of genetically engineered seeds, and the American Meat Institute, a group for meatpackers. Roberts says Rosado's "experience and perspective on nutrition issues will be key in the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization," which will shape US farmer-support programs as well as the food-stamp program. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Under Pressure; Cash Prices Steady

Cattle futures slid as the week's physical cattle trade got off to a swift start.

December-dated live cattle futures fell 0.5%, to $1.194 a pound, at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, while later months fell further.

Hog futures bounced. CME February lean hog contracts rose 2.2%, to 68.375 cents a pound, rebounding after two consecutive days of losses.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 20, 2017 17:40 ET (22:40 GMT)