GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Grain, Soybean Futures Start Week Lower

Grain and soybean futures fell after a wet and cooler turn in weather forecasts eased concerns about growing pains for U.S. crops.

Prices in the futures market have recently tracked a fast-changing weather outlook. Forecasters over the weekend said that cooler temperatures this week would limit stress to corn and soybean crops while showers would ease a moisture deficit in some regions.

Soybean Condition Better as Weather Improves -- Market Talk

16:16 ET - US soybean crop conditions improved last week, according to the USDA. The share of soybeans in good or excellent shape rose to 59% as of Sunday, up from 57% last week. Analysts expected ratings to be steady to lower. The proportion of good-or-excellent-rated corn, however, fell to 61% from 62% last week while the drought-stricken spring wheat crop fell to 31% good or excellent from 33%. A cooler and wetter turn in weather forecasts is expected to ease stress on corn and soybeans for the coming weeks. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

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Supermarkets Face a Growing Problem: Too Much Space

Never before in America has so much retail square footage been devoted to selling food -- and it is too much.

A massive build-out by retailers has left the country piled up with grocery shelves as consumers are shifting from big weekly shopping trips to more snacking and to-go meals. The mismatch has flattened retail sales and leaves the industry vulnerable to a wave of closures that some executives, bankers and industry experts think is coming soon.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Venezuela Bonds Fall After U.S. Announces Sanctions

Venezuelan bonds slipped Monday after the U.S. announced additional sanctions on the country but stopped short of targeting its oil sector.

Some investors said the Treasury Department's move to freeze the Venezuelan president's assets in the U.S. didn't alleviate concerns that stricter sanctions may be in the offing that could impact one of the South American nation's most crucial sources of revenue: oil sales to the U.S.

Food Retailers Slowing Down Expansion -- Market Talk

9:32 ET - Some grocers are starting to retrench in new store construction give the amount of retailers selling food and competition from e-commerce. Kroger (KR) is reducing its new-store openings this year to 55 from 100, a nearly billion-dollar drop in capital expenditures. Smart & Final Stores (SFS) plans to build 19 stores this year after opening 37 in 2016. Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) plans to build 55 supercenters and smaller-format stores in its 2018 fiscal year, down from the 132 it opened in the 12-month period ending in January. That has helped the nation's largest food seller spend billions of dollars renovating its stores and offer more online-order pickup. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

THE MARKETS:

Livestock Futures Drift Lower

Livestock futures mostly started the week lower as traders waited for a direction in the cash trade.

Prices for cattle and hogs fell in last week's cash market, as growing herd sizes and seasonal pressures like waning beef consumption gave meatpackers more bargaining power.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 31, 2017 17:34 ET (21:34 GMT)