GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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'Winter Kill' Threat Boosts Wheat Futures; Soybeans Fall

Wheat futures climbed Wednesday as forecasts for an extended cold snap across the U.S. raised crop-damage concerns. Corn futures also rose, while soybeans declined.

Sub-zero temperatures are gripping portions of the U.S. grain belt with little relief anticipated for much of the next week. The prospects for damage to the U.S. winter wheat crop helped perk up prices for wheat contracts generally, pushing March-dated contracts 1.4% higher at the Chicago Board of Trade, settling at $4.28 a bushel -- the contract's highest close since Nov. 14.

Less Grain on the Rails This Year -- Market Talk

12:20 ET - Shipments of U.S. grain by rail are set to fall in 2017 compared with last year's export-driven bonanza, even with bumper harvests and huge ending stocks. The Association of American Railroads reports a 0.8% fall in carloads in week 51, taking the year-to-date decline to 2.4%. (doug.cameron@wsj.com; @dougcameron)

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STORIES OF INTEREST:

Canola Follows U.S. Soy Lower

WINNIPEG--Canola contracts on the ICE Futures Canada platform were grinding lower at 11:40 a.m. EST Wednesday, in sympathy with the U.S. soy complex.

The Canadian dollar was about a quarter of a cent stronger relative to its U.S. counterpart, which made canola less appealing to foreign buyers.

Orange Juice Futures Fall to Pre-Hurricane Levels -- Market Talk

1019 ET - Frozen concentrated orange juice futures are on track to fall for the 15th straight session. That would push futures to their lowest close since Aug. 30, before a devastating hurricane struck Florida, pushing the citrus crop there down to its smallest since the 1940s. Juice processors in Florida have been taking exports from Mexico, Brazil and Europe to fill the void, says Price Futures Group. FCOJ for March is down 0.8% at $1.328 a pound. March raw sugar rises to 14.91 cents a pound. March cocoa is off 0.3% at $1,851 a ton and March cotton is up 0.5% at 77.81 cents a pound. (julie.wernau@wsj.com)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Rally Fizzles as Hogs Retreat

U.S. livestock futures closed with modest gains Wednesday as traders questioned whether fundamentals underpinned the previous day's rally. The front-month live cattle future ended narrowly lower, shedding early gains as a debate continued over whether latent cash buying might drive the market higher in the traditionally quiet week before the new year.

Most lean hog contracts also ended narrowly lower after losing early gains. Live cattle has been the focus for the debate between bulls and bears, and the February contract--the most heavily traded--ended 0.475 cents lower at $1.21 a pound. Other contracts made modest gains.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 27, 2017 17:45 ET (22:45 GMT)