GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

TOP STORIES:

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Soybean Futures Slide on Growing Brazil Crop

Soybean futures led losses in a quiet session ahead of a series of government supply-and-demand reports.

Brazilian agricultural agency Conab raised its projections for this season's soybean harvest to 110.4 million metric tons, from 109.2 million in December. That's below last year's record, but good growing conditions have allowed the nascent crop to flourish in many parts of the country, leading to larger estimates.

January-dated oilseed futures fell 0.7% to $9.40 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Grain contracts were little changed. CBOT March wheat futures fell 0.2% to $4.33 1/4 a bushel while March corn contracts slid 0.1% to $3.48 3/4 a bushel.

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Post Holdings Looks at Alternatives for Private Brands -- Update

Post Holdings Inc. (POST) is looking at strategic alternatives for its private-brands businesses, the consumer packaged-goods company said Thursday.

Those alternatives could include selling the businesses or taking it public, among other things, Post said. The company's private-brands businesses include Dakota Growers, Attune Foods and Golden Boy. The group earned $43.4 million and had net sales of $791.2 million in the company's most recent fiscal year.

Food Prices Fall 3.3% in December: FAO Index

LONDON--World food prices dropped for the third straight month in December due to falling prices across all major food categories, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations said Thursday.

The FAO's food price index decreased by 3.3% last month from November. Despite the end-of-year fall, average food prices were 8.2% higher in 2017 than they were in 2016, the report said.

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Tax Plans Differ at Company-Run, Franchise Restaurants -- Market Talk

8:52 ET - Restaurant companies that are largely run by franchisees are likely to funnel savings from the tax overhaul to the bottom line and eventually return more cash to shareholders, while companies that operate their own restaurants are more likely to reinvest in their business, according to Cowen's take on the restaurant companies that presented at a Florida investor conference this week. Franchisors, Cowen added, aren't likely to give their franchisees a break on royalty fees despite the greater savings. Companies that operate their own restaurants are planning to plow savings into labor investments, restaurant remodeling and digital ordering. (julie.jargon@wsj.com)

Danone's Organic Sales to Speed Up in 2018: UBS -- Market Talk

1309 GMT - Danone's organic sales should accelerate in 2018 after a six-year slowdown, UBS says in upgrading the yogurt maker to buy from neutral and increasing its target price to EUR80.00 from EUR72.00. Analysts mention several positive elements for the company, including improving results in China. "We think 2018 will mark the first Y/Y acceleration since 2011," UBS says. Shares in Danone trade 0.7% higher at EUR69.53 (pietro.lombardi@dowjones.com; @pietrolombard10)

Coast Guard Plans New Waterway Cutter -- Market Talk

11:16 ET - The US Coast Guard hopes by 2022 to have the first of a new fleet of waterway commerce cutters to mark channels on the Mississippi, Ohio and Missouri rivers used by grain and coal barges, says Rear Adm. Mike Haycock at an industry event. Commodity shipments are often delayed by problems with the existing fleet of 35 boats that patrol big inland waterways. They have an average age of 52 years, with the oldest over 70. (doug.cameron@wsj.com; @dougcameron)

THE MARKETS:

Hog Futures Sell Off Amid Nafta Jitters

Hog futures tumbled on Thursday on concerns about the North American Free Trade Agreement and technical weakness.

February-dated lean hog contracts fell 2.1% to 70.975 cents a pound at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, dropping from a recent multimonth high. Analysts said that the contract struggled to stay above 73.5 cents, which indicated to some traders that prices were headed lower.

CME February live cattle contracts rose 0.2% to $1.17075 a pound.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 11, 2018 17:33 ET (22:33 GMT)