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GRAINS-U.S. soybean, corn futures rise on bargain buying; wheat falls

(Updates with closing prices)

By Mark Weinraub

CHICAGO, June 24 (Reuters) - U.S. soybean futures rose on Friday, snapping a streak of four negative sessions, on a round of bargain buying and short covering, traders said.

"Prices appear to have stabilized at current levels," Tomm Pfitzenmaier, analyst for Summit Commodity Brokerage, said in a note to clients. "Traders that sold all week will likely want to take some profits on those positions ahead of the weekend."

Corn also was higher, with bargain buying featured after the market fell 3.3% over the previous four sessions. Gains in the new-crop contracts outpaced the nearby contract as traders unwound some bull spreads as they monitored crop development in the U.S. Midwest.

Wheat futures fell, pressured by the ongoing harvest in winter wheat growing areas of the United States.

Chicago Board of Trade July soybean futures settled up 17-1/2 cents at $16.10-3/4 a bushel.

Strength in the crude oil market added support to soybeans.

CBOT July corn futures were up 3-1/2 cents at $7.50-1/4 a bushel. The December contract gained 18-1/2 cents to $6.74.

After temperatures eased this week following a heatwave, the focus is on how much rain will reach the Midwest as corn and soy crops approach key summer growth stages.

Stress from dryness could spread to about 40% of U.S. corn and soy next week, before showers curb driest areas to less than one-third of the belt, Commodity Weather Group said in an note.

CBOT July soft red winter wheat was down 13-1/2 cents at $9.23-3/4 and K.C. hard red winter wheat for July delivery was 12 cents lower at $9.93 a bushel.

The U.S. Agriculture Department said on Friday morning that weekly export sales of wheat totalled 477,800 tonnes, above the high end of trade forecasts that ranged from 150,000 to 400,000 tonnes. (Additional reporting by Gus Trompiz in Paris and Enrico Dela Cruz in Manila; Editing by Marguerita Choy and David Evans)

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