GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

Features Dow Jones Newswires

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Grain, Soybean Futures Trade Sideways

Grain and soybean markets were mixed Tuesday as prices hit selling pressure and buying interest dried up.

Wheat futures led losses, with the March-dated contract falling 1% to $4.21 1/2 a bushel at the Chicago Board of Trade. March corn futures fell 0.2% to $3.51 1/4 a bushel. March soybean contracts rose 0.2% to $9.86 1/4 a bushel.

Up to $800M in Profits at Stake in Monsanto Patent Dispute -- Market Talk

14:49 ET - Monsanto stands to lose $600M to $800M in earnings if the seed giant can't collect Brazilian royalties on its popular insect-repelling soybean genes, according to Bernstein analysts. Monsanto's battling a lawsuit launched by Brazilian farmers challenging Monsanto's patent for the soybean genetics, and the company suffered a blow when Brazil's patent office concluded it's invalid. If the Brazilian court rules against Monsanto, Bernstein figures seed distributors there may stop paying some royalties to Monsanto, risking profits on next year's seed sales. Bernstein sees it as a "minor negative" for Bayer's desire to close its purchase of Monsanto, but probably not a "linchpin issue." Monsanto shares rise 0.5%. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

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Some USDA Reports Delayed Due to Shutdown -- Market Talk

11:52 ET - The USDA is pushing back the release of certain reports due to the temporary government shutdown. The agency will release its cold storage report, which updates market participants on stocks of meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables in commercial freezers, on Wednesday at 3pm ET, a day later. The weekly export sales report is due on Friday morning rather than Thursday. The release of its chicken-and-eggs and milk production reports are also delayed by 24 hours. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

STORIES OF INTEREST:

Informa Trims U.S. Corn, Soybean Acreage Forecasts -- Market Talk

12:35 ET - Private forecaster Informa Economics lowered its projected corn and soybean plantings for 2018. It trimmed its corn estimate to 89.179M acres and put its soybean figure at 91.197M. Rising prices for cotton, sorghum and barley could prompt farmers to plant more of those crops at the expense of corn and soybeans, says Michael McDougall of ED&F Man. CBOT March corn futures fall 0.6% to $3.49 3/4 a bushel. March wheat slides 0.9% to $4.21 3/4 while March soybeans are little changed at $9.84 1/4 a bushel. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

Zambia May Resume Corn Imports As Drought Hits Yields -- Market Talk

1457 GMT - Zambia will likely resume corn imports for the first time in a decade due to the anticipated drop in production as drought ravages farmlands across the country, says Zambia National Farmers Union. Output may halve to 1.8 million tons in 2018, as Africa's No.2 copper producer grapples with drought and late distribution of farming inputs, the group says. Local corn prices are a main driver of inflation, upon which miners unions peg wage demands. Zambia, the only Southern African nation to register a corn surplus in 2016-17 banned exports last year to stock enough food reserves of the regional staple. But the country now faces the prospect of sourcing imports from as far as South America as the regional shortage bites. (Nicholas.Bariyo@wsj.com; @Nicholasbariyo)

Setback for Monsanto in Brazilian Patent Case -- Market Talk

8:09 ET - Brazil's government agency overseeing industrial property rights is backing a lawsuit by corn and soybean growers in the country, challenging the validity of seed giant Monsanto's patent over insect-repelling soybean seeds, according to the company. In a lawsuit filed by farmer group Aprosoja-MT, Brazil's INPI files a submission supporting the farmers, though Monsanto says the agency issued that opinion without considering INPI technical staff, who "reached an entirely different conclusion" when granting the patent in 2012. The seeds have been among Monsanto's most popular with farmers, expanding to cover tens of millions of acres in South America since their launch. (jacob.bunge@wsj.com; @jacobbunge)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Bounce; Hogs Wobble on Nafta Jitters

Cattle futures climbed to the highest close in 11 weeks, supported by rising prices for beef and physical cattle.

Cash prices for slaughter-ready cattle jumped around $3 late last week. Market observers said they expected some of that strength to carry over into this week, particularly after a snowstorm in parts of western and northern cattle country disrupted trade and potentially stressed cattle being fattened in feedlots.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 23, 2018 17:47 ET (22:47 GMT)