GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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Grain, Soybean Futures Steady; Oilseed Processing Hits Record

Grain and soybean futures traded sideways in a mixed session on Friday.

Contracts for soybeans closed slightly lower, despite signs of added demand. The National Oilseed Processors Association said that its members crushed a record 163.5 million bushels of oilseed in November, according to traders. That was below October's 164.2 million bushel crush but above prereport estimates, and a record for the month.

Soybean futures for January delivery closed 0.1% lower at $9.67 1/4 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade, the lowest close since mid-November.

KKR to Buy Unilever's Spreads Business for $8 Billion -- Update

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U.S. private equity giant KKR & Co. agreed Friday to acquire Unilever PLC's margarine and spreads business in a deal that values the unit at EUR6.83 billion ($8.03 billion), making it one of the largest European acquisitions by a buyout firm this year.

The Anglo-Dutch conglomerate in April first announced plans to sell the 145-year-old business as part of a broader effort to boost shareholder returns after rebuffing a $143 billion takeover offer from Kraft Heinz Co. in February. Unilever, which sells products ranging from Dove Soap to Lipton tea, is acquiring faster growing consumer brands, cutting costs, buying back shares and increasing dividends to help appease investors.

Campbell Soup in 'Advanced Talks' to Buy Snyder's-Lance: Report -- MarketWatch

Campbell Soup Co. (CPB) is in "advanced talks" to buy snack maker Snyder's-Lance Inc. (LNCE), CNBC reported late Friday, citing sources familiar with the potential deal. The acquisition could be announced as early as next week and would be Campbell's largest, the report said. The deal could be delayed or fall apart, the sources said. It would value Snyder's at about $50 a share, according to the report. Shares of Campbell Soup were flat in late trading Friday after gaining 2% at the end of the trading day, while Snyder's-Lance shares rose 5% after finishing the regular session up 5.3%.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Oil Prices Edge Up Amid Pipeline Outage

U.S. oil prices rose and the global benchmark fell Friday, as prices were supported by a pipeline outage in the North Sea, but higher forecasts for U.S. output in 2018 from major energy groups this week limited gains.

U.S. crude futures rose 26 cents, or 0.46%, to $57.30 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent, the global benchmark, fell 8 cents, or 0.13%, to $63.23 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Rally on Cash Strength

Cattle futures ended the week with a bounce on higher-than-expected physical cattle prices.

December-dated live cattle contracts rose 2.3% to $1.189 a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, the highest close this month. Contracts for feeder cattle, which need to be fattened before slaughter, also rose.

Cash prices last week averaged $117.50 live and $187 dressed nationally, and analysts had expected prices to fall further this week as packers eased off buying. But packers may have needed more livestock than expected, they said, helping to halt further losses.

Hog futures also rose. CME December lean hog contracts rose 1.3% to 68.525 cents a pound, with the late rally in the cattle market helping to carry prices higher.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 15, 2017 17:52 ET (22:52 GMT)