By Jesse Newman

CHICAGO--Grain and soybean futures advanced Friday, pushed modestly higher by investor short-covering and concerns over adverse conditions for some crops.

Soybean prices extended gains for a second straight session after stumbling lower earlier in the week as speculative investors like hedge funds and others abandoned bets that prices would fall in the near term. The moves came ahead of a government report due out from the U.S. Department of Agriculture next week that is widely expected to boost forecasts for U.S. supplies of the oilseeds thanks to strong yields revealed during the fall harvest. On Friday, however, analysts said some fund managers were exiting bearish soybean betsin case the government's numbers contained a surprise.

Throughout the week, a string of private forecasters released updated projections for U.S. crop production and stockpiles. "Nearly all firms are expecting to see an increase in soybean yield," said Karl Setzer of brokerage MaxYield Cooperative.

Soybean futures for November rose 1 3/4 cents, or 0.2%, to $9.81 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Corn prices eked out slight gains as traders squared positions ahead of the crop report due to be released next Wednesday. Analysts widely expect the USDA to forecast a slight drop in domestic corn output and inventories, though the crop is still expected to be the largest in history.

CBOT December corn futures added 3/4 cents, or 0.2%, to $3.48 3/4 a bushel.

Wheat prices improved, buoyed partly by concerns over dry conditions in regions of the U.S. Midwest where winter varietals of the grain are grown. Although crop-friendly rains are expected to relieve dryness in some wheat-growing regions, traders still are keeping close watch over crops in the U.S. Great Plains and southeast, where winter wheat crops are in need of moisture.

CBOT December wheat rose 2 1/4 cents, or 0.6%, to $4.14 1/4 a bushel.

Write to Jesse Newman at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 04, 2016 15:33 ET (19:33 GMT)

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