GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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Soybean Futures Drop Despite Above-Expectation Crush Rate

Soybean futures fell on Friday as traders locked in profits ahead of the weekend, while grain prices rose.

Oilseed contracts rallied on Wednesday and Thursday, but analysts said an uptick in harvest activity over the coming days would likely weigh down prices. The U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this week increased its estimates for soybean production this year.

Grain futures were higher, meanwhile. CBOT December corn futures rose 0.1% to $3.54 3/4 a bushel while December wheat climbed 1.4% to $4.49 a bushel.

Venezuelan Food Prices Surged in a Year -- Market Talk

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12:29 ET - Venezuelan food prices climbed on average 406% in August, compared with the same month a year ago, according to Cenda. The research group tracks inflation since the government began withholding official data in 2015 because of the hobbled economy. Some staples like sugar and cooking oil have seen prices jump by more than 800% during the same period, Cenda says. Prices are likely to continue rising at a rapid clip with President Maduro last week announcing a large hike in minimum wage for the sixth time in a year, a move that economists say pushes Venezuela deeper into hyperinflation. (kejal.vyas@wsj.com)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Amazon More Likely to Buy Tesco Than Ocado, Says HSBC -- Market Talk

1121 GMT - Amazon.com Inc is more likely to buy U.K. supermarket chain Tesco PLC in an overseas expansion drive than online specialist Ocado PLC because Ocado doesn't have shops, says HSBC. The investment bank remains skeptical about Ocado's long-term outlook, particularly after Amazon's purchase of Whole Foods Market Inc. Amazon's decision to buy a bricks-and-mortar retailer suggests it thinks pure online "is not the way to go", says HSBC. A deal with Ocado could appeal to retailers in some countries wanting to boost their online profile to fend off possible competition from Amazon. Still, HSBC adds: "We believe Amazon's move suggests Ocado is less likely to be a potential acquisition target for it and that Tesco might be considered." Ocado shares fall 0.3% to 297 pence. Tesco shares down 0.68%. (philip.waller@wsj.com)

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures Rise on Bouncing Belly Prices

Hog futures rose over 3% to end the week, helped by sharply higher pork belly prices.

Volatility in belly prices has significantly influenced hog futures this year. Wholesale prices climbed over $10 to $114.21 per 100 pounds on Friday morning, a sharp turnaround after bellies lost about half their value since peaking at a record in late July. Analysts say high prices stifled demand when they trickled down to consumers.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 15, 2017 17:35 ET (21:35 GMT)