GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Wheat Futures Climb as Traders Eye More Cold Weather

Wheat futures led the grain-and-oilseed sector on Wednesday as concerns mounted about a new cold snap in the central U.S.

The wheat market rallied over the holiday period on concerns about freezing temperatures in Plains states like Kansas, which were cold enough to cause some damage to growing crops.

March-dated wheat futures rose 0.5% to $4.34 1/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

CBOT January soybean futures fell 0.9% to $9.47 a bushel. March corn contracts were unchanged at $3.49 a bushel.

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Supervalu Sinks on Weak Profits, Slow Retail Sales -- Market Talk

10:37 ET - Supervalu down more than 13% on fiscal 3Q earnings missing estimates on sales and operating margins. The Minneapolis-based food distributor and retailer saw unexpected expenses from high truck and logistics costs, attributing the miss to a surge in holiday sales and new retail businesses. Retail sales in identical stores dropped 3.5% during the quarter compared to the previous year, another weak period that prompted the company to lower outlook for its grocery stores. "The near-term trends remain challenging," Telsey Advisory Group writes. The company has closed stores and expects to shut more this year. Activist investors have targeted Supervalu for having too many underperforming stores. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

Supervalu Will Invest Tax Savings Back into Business -- Market Talk

11:16 ET - Food distributor Supervalu expects its effective tax rate to come down 13 percentage points in its 2019 fiscal year under the new federal plan, and to pay a minimum amount of taxes in the remainder of its current year. The Minneapolis-based company will plow the savings back into its business to pay down debts and invest as the distributor absorbs new acquisitions, executives say. "Frankly that's, that's the plan, paying down debt and investing back into business," CEO Mark Gross tells investors. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Sales of Big Farm Tractors Off 4% in December -- Market Talk

15:43 ET - Retail sales of high-horsepower, two-wheel-drive farm tractors in the US and Canada slipped 4% in December from a year earlier. US sales alone fell by 7% to a 14-year low for December. Big tractor sales ended 2017 down 6% from 2016 at 20,849 units, says the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. Sales of harvesting combines rose 2% in December and increased 10% in 2017. Deere CEO Sam Allen offered an upbeat outlook for 2018 to analysts Tuesday, saying the falling equipment market appears to have bottomed out and predicted modest sales growth this year. (robert.tita@wsj.com; @bob_tita)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Turn Lower on Cash-Market Weakness

Cattle futures resumed their losing streak on Wednesday, falling to the lowest close in almost four weeks.

February-dated contracts for live cattle fell 0.7% to $1.16875 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the lowest close since Dec. 14.

Hog futures turned lower after hitting a multimonth high. CME February lean hog contracts slid 0.9% to 72.525 cents a pound. Prices have bumped up against selling pressure around those levels, analysts said, with chart patterns signaling to some traders that the market had reached a temporary top.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 10, 2018 17:43 ET (22:43 GMT)