Seed company Monsanto ( MON) is being sued for allegedly failing to prevent regular wheat from being contaminated by genetically altered wheat. The lawsuit comes after genetically engineered experimental wheat was discovered in a field in Oregon. The U.S. Agriculture Department said last Wednesday that the genetically engineered wheat was the same strain as one designed by Monsanto to be herbicide-resistant. The wheat was modified to withstand Monsanto's Roundup Ready weed killer. The wheat was tested through 2005 but never approved by the U.S. to market for planting. The Center for Biological Diversity has sued Monsanto, saying in its complaint: "Because scheduled shipments already have been postponed and canceled, the presence of genetically engineered wheat has detrimentally impacted the domestic and global wheat markets and damaged plaintiffs and other wheat farmers." It is believed to be the first lawsuit to be filed as a result of the discovery of the modified wheat. Japan has already stopped imports of western-white and feed wheat, while South Korea has halted its purchase of U.S. white wheat. Taiwan has asked for U.S. imports of wheat to be labeled by the state of origin. According to Monsanto, the experimental wheat may have infiltrated its regular wheat field via an "accidental or purposeful" act. How the modified wheat got there is currently under investigation.
Wal-Mart ( WMT) announced its board has approved a new $15 billion stock repurchase program at its annual meeting. The program replaces the current $15 billion share repurchase program started in 2011. That plan has about $712 million left under it, according to Wal-Mart Chief Financial Officer Charles Holley. Holley said, "Our strong cash flow enabled the company to invest in growth and repurchase over $14 billion of our stock during the last two years." The company said it has returned $6.2 billion in cash to shareholders.
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