GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Grain Futures Fall Near One-Month Lows

Grain and soybean futures fell Wednesday ahead of a government supply-and-demand report.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is due to update its corn and soybean harvest estimates on Thursday at noon EDT. Analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect the agency to leave its soybean yield estimate largely unchanged at 49.8 bushel per acre, compared with 49.9 bushels in its September report. Analysts expect a corn yield of 169.7 bushels per acre, down slightly from 169.9 bushels in September but nevertheless further evidence of a bumper crop this year.

That's given traders little incentive to place optimistic bets this week, with grain futures in particular falling near month lows on Wednesday.

December corn futures at the Chicago Board of Trade fell 0.9% to $3.46 a bushel, while December wheat futures fell 0.5% to $4.33 1/4 a bushel. Both were the lowest closing prices since Sept. 14.

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Kroger Weighs Sale of Convenience Stores -- Update

Kroger Co. said it may sell its convenience stores and cut other costs, as the nation's largest traditional grocer battles Amazon.com Inc. and other new competitors.

The nearly 800 convenience stores, most which sell gas, will likely fetch Kroger a higher return than profits delivered to the company currently, executives told investors at an annual meeting Wednesday at the New York Stock Exchange.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Restaurants Continue to Post Bad Quarters -- Market Talk

12:22 ET - Restaurant sales continue their decline in 3Q with same-store sales down in September "near the lowest levels we have on record," according to Jefferies. While some of the reasons behind the collective 0.7% decline in overall restaurant comp sales last month can be attributed to the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, Jefferies says it's a combination of an oversupply of restaurants, competition with other food sellers--including convenience stores and meal kit subscription services--and reduced foot traffic to malls. Jefferies says restaurant valuations are too high and that "investors should take a cautious approach to investing in the industry." (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures Bounce to One-Month High

Hog futures rose to the highest close in a month on Wednesday, as traders shrugged off concerns about oversupply.

Meatpackers are slaughtering record numbers of hogs, while producers have also increased herd sizes to an all-time high for this time of year. But traders are betting that strong demand for pork, both domestically and in the export market, will help absorb that extra meat supply and prevent a glut.

Prices across the hog market have recently started to trend higher as a result. Meatpackers have increased bids for slaughter-ready hogs for eight consecutive trading days. On Tuesday, packers paid an average of $55 per 100 pounds, up over $1.50 from a day earlier, and were expected to bid more on Wednesday too.

Feedyards didn't sell any cattle at the online Fed Cattle Exchange auction Wednesday morning, passing up bids from meatpackers of between $110 and $110.75 per 100 pounds live. Those would have been steady to above last week's highs.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 11, 2017 17:37 ET (21:37 GMT)