GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Grain, Soybean Futures Drop Amid Bumper Harvest

CHICAGO -- Grain and soybean futures slid Thursday, weighed down by reports of robust yields from U.S. farm fields.

Prices for soybeans dropped for a third straight session, erasing gains posted earlier in the day as harvest pressure and global currency shifts outstripped optimism over strong export sales. The soybean market got a boost Thursday morning after the U.S. Department of Agriculture said net sales for the week ended Oct. 19 totaled 2.1 million metric tons, beating analyst expectations.

Soybean futures for November delivery fell 4 1/4 cents, or 0.4%, to $9.71 1/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Bayer Cuts Value of Monsanto Deal, CFO Says

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A reduction in net debt at Monsanto Co. will save Bayer AG $2.5 billion, likely lowering how much the German company raises in an upcoming rights issue.

Bayer cut the value of its deal to acquire the U.S. seed maker Thursday to $63.5 billion from $66 billion. Monsanto's net financial liabilities fell by $2.5 billion since its acquisition was announced in September 2016.

Hershey Sales Rise Despite Growing Competition -- Update

Hershey Co. says snacks and candy are a rare bright spot in the U.S. food industry, but pressure on the company's profit margin disappointed investors.

Hershey's sales rose 1.5% to $2 billion in the latest quarter, as snack foods are outpacing sales of packaged and canned meals in the U.S., said Hershey Chief Executive Michele Buck, who took the helm in March.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

South Africa Farmers Curb Corn Plantings As Prices Dip -- Market Talk

1558 GMT - South Africa's corn plantings will likely dip next year season as farmers scale back acreage due to low prices following a record crop, says government's Crop Estimates Committee. Farmers in Africa's top grower are expected to slash plantings by 6% to 2.47 million hectares after prices dipped by more than 50% due to a bumper harvest. South Africa's 2017 crop hit a record 16.7 million tons, more than double the 7.8 million tons produced in 2016 after good rains aided a recovery from the 2015-16 historic drought. South Africa imported 2.2 million tons of corn last year, the first imports in 8 years but has since resumed exports and remains on course to ship 2.5 tons of the grain this year. (Nicholas.Bariyo@wsj.com; @Nicholasbariyo)

THE MARKETS:

U.S. Cattle Futures Bound Higher on Fund Bets; Hogs Rise

CHICAGO--Cattle futures prices bounded higher on bets that rising beef prices won't soften consumer and export demand. Hog futures also climbed.

Live cattle futures at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange closed Thursday at their highest level since Aug. 4, resuming a rally that has pushed contracts 9% higher since markets opened at the beginning of the week. December-dated live cattle futures settled 1.4% higher at $1.207 a pound.

Hog futures settled higher Thursday, despite signs of cooling prices in the cash market, where prices were seen steady to slightly lower. December-dated contracts closed nearly 1% higher at 65.05 cents a pound, the highest level since mid-August.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 26, 2017 17:59 ET (21:59 GMT)