GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Grain, Soybean Futures Slide

Grain and soybean futures fell on Thursday as buying interest waned.

The wheat market in particular turned lower after starting the year higher over concerns about crop condition in the Great Plains.

Wheat futures for March delivery fell 0.5% to $4.34 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Monsanto Expects Growth From Flagship Herbicide This Year -- Update

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Monsanto Co. anticipates reaping bigger profits this year from its flagship weed killer.

The maker of Roundup herbicide said that higher generic prices for the product's main chemical, glyphosate, would boost Monsanto's business over the coming year as the company works to close its planned sale to Bayer AG.

Monsanto on Thursday reported a fiscal first-quarter profit of $169 million, or 38 cents a share, up from $29 million, or 7 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue edged 0.3% higher to $2.66 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of 42 cents on $2.77 billion in revenue.

FDA Pauses Enforcement of Certain Food-Safety Provisions -- Market Talk

13:48 ET - FDA won't enforce certain provisions of a sweeping food-safety law as it mulls changes to a system designed to protect consumers from foodborne illness outbreaks. The agency's "enforcement discretion" targets provisions laid out in four rules related to food production and imports, and is intended to address challenges faced by farmers and others tasked with implementing those rules, FDA says. Another aim: to reduce "burdens on both industry and government" as the agency considers adjustments to the biggest overhaul to US food safety law in decades. The action comes in the wake of a December report by HHS' Office of Inspector General which roundly criticized FDA's food-recall process, saying it did not always ensure the safety of the US food supply. (jesse.newman@wsj.com; @jessenewman13)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Monsanto Expects to Reap Benefits from Tax Changes -- Market Talk

8:28 ET - Crop seed maker Monsanto expects to benefit from last month's US tax overhaul, though the company's fiscal-year timing is likely to delay that somewhat, the company says. Monsanto expects the tax revamp will "have a positive impact on the company's effective tax rate, beginning in fiscal year 2019." The company on Thursday reported fiscal first-quarter 2018 earnings, and for the current year, Monsanto expects its effective tax rate "should not exceed 30 percent, and has the potential to be materially lower." Monsanto is in the process of selling itself to Germany's Bayer AG. ( jacob.bunge@wsj.com ; @jacobbunge)

THE MARKETS:

Hogs Rise as Packers Weather Storm

Hog futures rose as a winter storm disrupted the pork trade.

Transportation issues stemming from snowfall, high winds and low temperatures in the eastern U.S. disrupted the flow of slaughter-ready hogs into packing plants for processing.

That prodded the futures market, with February-dated lean hog contracts rising 0.5% to 71.375 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Hog futures have recently traded at multimonth highs, in part over concerns about freezing temperatures in much of the U.S.

Cattle futures turned lower after initially rising. Some observers said that meatpackers had bought some cattle in northern states for around $125 per 100 pounds, up from last week and above the front-month February contract. Analysts had expected cash prices to rise this week.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 04, 2018 17:50 ET (22:50 GMT)