GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Wheat Futures Continue Rally on Weather Worries

CHICAGO--Wheat futures hit fresh highs on Friday, as drought in the northern U.S. continued to push prices upward. Acute dryness in parts of the northern Plains have left the spring wheat crop in dire condition, analysts say. That has prompted many traders, particularly managed funds, to get out of some widely held bets that prices would fall.

Whole Foods Foes Face a Bigger Bugbear -- Market Talk

9:59 ET - Across parts of the US Farm Belt -- far from the urban centers where Whole Foods' (WFM) presence is felt most strongly -- the upscale organic retailer isn't much liked. Conventional corn and soybean farmers see the retail chain helping push less-efficient forms of agriculture, such as organic, and in turn disparaging conventional farming that relies on synthetic chemical pesticides and fertilizers, the bread and butter of many Midwestern farmers. But with Amazon's planned purchase of Whole Foods, the chain's values could be trumpeted by a retail behemoth whose reach stretches far beyond cities and tony suburban lifestyle centers. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

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Amazon Buys $13.7B Worth of Clout with Farmers, Too -- Market Talk

9:36 ET - Amazon's (AMZN) deal for Whole Foods (WFM) puts the internet retailing behemoth into a position of elevated influence over US agriculture. Whole Foods' focus on natural production methods for meat and crops over the past decades has helped drive organic produce, non-GMO grains and meat produced without antibiotics into the US mainstream -- helping usher in changes to the way food is raised. Amazon's long aspired to sell more food, and adding Whole Foods to its heft and reach will have agribusiness executives listening closely to the internet giant's views on farming. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

Target's Snub of Sprouts Might Have Been Mistake -- Market Talk

10:45 ET - Should Target (TGT) have pulled the trigger on buying Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM)? Amazon's (AMZN) acquisition of Whole Foods (WFM) calls into question TGT's decision last year to pull out of advanced talks to acquire SFM. TGT's food and beverage sales continued to decline in the most recent quarter, despite several efforts to improve a category that serves as a big traffic driver and accounts for 20% of its sales. SFM shares fall 12% in morning trading, while TGT is down 10%. (khadeeja.safdar@wsj.com; @khadeeja_safdar)

THE MARKETS:

Livestock Futures Sideways in Light Trading

CHICAGO -- Livestock futures were mixed in a quiet session on Friday, as cattle and hog contracts consolidated after some recent losses. Lean hog futures for July delivery rose 0.3% to 82.325 cents a pound, recovering from a selloff on Thursday as hot weather in key states such as Iowa continues to limit hog weight gain. But contracts for delivery in October and December fell, as traders bet growing supplies will keep prices down later this year.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

June 16, 2017 17:37 ET (21:37 GMT)