GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Corn, Soybean Futures Climb on Surprise Stocks Report

Corn and soybean futures rose after a government report showed a smaller-than-expected build up in quarterly stocks.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Friday that stocks of corn in domestic grain bins on Sept. 1 rose to 2.295 billion bushels, up from 1.737 billion the same time last year. That was the highest in almost 30 years, though below the range of pre-report estimates.

Quarterly soybean stocks, meanwhile, rose to a decade high of 301 million bushels, up from 197 million last year. That, too, was lower than analyst estimates.

Wheat Slides on Larger-than-Expected Production Forecast -- Market Talk

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12:18 ET - Wheat prices drop after the USDA says farmers will harvest a larger grain crop than analysts had anticipated. According to the government, US farmers will collect 1.74B bushels of wheat this year, slightly higher than the 1.73B bushels analysts had expected. Still, that marks a 15-year low for US wheat output, which is down thanks to lower plantings of the crop and a drought in the northern Plains that dented spring wheat yields. Dec. wheat falls 1.2% to $4.49 1/4/bushel. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Conagra Impresses Wall Street with Sales Growth -- Market Talk

17:09 ET - Conagra is receiving the praises of Wall Street analysts impressed with its ability to post quarterly sales growth in its refrigerated and frozen brands. Conagra has been working to turn around Healthy Choice frozen dinners and other brands that were struggling, and the company has made progress. "Conagra has avoided the setbacks that have befallen peers," RBC says, noting Conagra's "rapidly improving top-line trends." Conagra's CEO Sean Connolly says while buying smaller, trendy brands is part of his strategy, modernizing iconic brands will have a bigger effect. "You can get tremendously high velocity products when you refresh brands compared to brands consumers have never heard of," he says. (annie.gasparro@wsj.com)

FDA Delays Nutrition Labeling Until 2020 -- Market Talk

11:47 ET - Big food manufacturers will have until January 2020 to add more detailed nutrition labels on their products, a nearly year and a half extension from the original July 2018 deadline. Small food companies will have until January 2021. Food companies pressed the Trump administration for an extension, arguing they needed more time to change their packaging. Industry groups welcomed the extension. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

Amazon Boosts Whole Foods Brand Sales -- Market Talk

11:31 ET - Amazon has sold $1.6M in Whole Foods store-brand products in the first month since taking over the organic chain. Amazon completed $500,000 in online sales in the first week, according to the One Click Retail e-commerce data analytics firm. Weekly sales fell to about $300,000 during the next two weeks after Amazon ran low on stock for some products but rebounded in the fourth week, the analysis finds. Snacks and candy, followed by frozen fruit and vegetables, were the most popular items. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures End Week With Rally

Hog futures leaped Friday despite a report that showed the national herd growing to a record size for this time of year.

Most-active December lean hog futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange rose 2.9% to 59.95 cents a pound, climbing above 61 cents during the session. The front-month October contract closed 0.3% lower at 55.4 cents.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 29, 2017 17:29 ET (21:29 GMT)