GRAIN HIGHLIGHTS: Top Stories of the Day

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Grain, Soybean Futures Mixed to End 'Dismal' Week -- Market Talk

15:07 ET - Grain and soybean futures stabilize after a week punctuated by sharp losses. Wheat futures in particular alarmed some traders by falling past key technical support indicators Thursday, ending the week almost 25 cents lower. Canadian government statistics released today didn't help, forecasting above-expectation total wheat acreage of 23.18M acres for 2017. Canadian soybean and corn forecasts also came in above expectations. "We have finally reached the end of a rather dismal week," says Dan Hueber, manager of the Hueber Report. CBOT May wheat futures close down 0.3% at $4.05 a bushel. CBOT May corn futures close 0.2% lower at $3.57 a bushel while soybeans rise 0.5% to $9.51 a bushel. (benjamin.parkin@wsj.com; @b_parkyn)

Food Retail Prices Set to Rebound from Historic Lows -- Market Talk

11:15 ET - The fight between big food retailers over price has been good for consumers. Last year, shoppers paid 1.3% less than a year earlier for eggs, meat and other staples, federal data shows, the steepest drop since 1959. Year-to-year food retail prices declined for the 16th month in March, the longest stretch since 1956. But some believe the trend will reverse this year as commodity prices climb out of a multiyear rout. Moody's expects prices for food consumed at home to rise 1% in 2017. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

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Zambia May Lift Ban on Corn Exports as Drought Fears Ease -- Market Talk

1427 GMT - Zambia may lift a year-long ban on corn exports amid expectations of a better harvest as the country recovers from the worst el Nino induced drought in decades. Zambia, the only country in southern Africa to register a corn surplus last season may start allowing limited exports later this year, President Edgar Lungu said Friday, a relief for commercial farmers who have been clamouring to have the ban scraped. Zambia produced a corn surplus of 634,000 tons last season, but banned the export of the main staple to reign in on runaway prices, amid a worsening regional deficit. But Mr. Lungu cautions that government will only allow "monitored exports" to ensure Zambia is not depleted of the grain. (Nicholas.Bariyo@wsj.com ; @Nicholasbariyo)

Wal-Mart Fights to Be Food Retail's Price Leader -- Market Talk

10:59 ET - Wal-Mart (WMT) is fighting to defend its low-cost reputation. WMT executives have told suppliers that the company wants its prices to be 15% lower than competitors' 80% of the time, and the world's biggest retailer is in the midst of a three-year push to slash prices. Wolfe Research recently found prices for a basket of grocery items at Philadelphia area WMT stores were 5.8% lower than a year ago, while those in the Atlanta and Southern California markets were 4.9% and 2.7% cheaper, respectively. (heather.haddon@wsj.com; @heatherhaddon)

THE MARKETS:

Cattle Futures Rise as USDA Shows Large Supply

CHICAGO--Cattle futures inched higher to extend multiweek gains, while a government report showed a large supply of cattle in the U.S.

The U.S Department of Agriculture's cattle-on-feed report was largely in line with expectations. Total cattle and calves on feed for the slaughter market for feedlots numbered at 10.9 million head as of April 1, slightly above a year ago.

Placements in commercial lots in March rose to 2.1 million head, 11% higher than last year. Analysts surveyed by the Wall Street Journal were expecting a 7.5% increase.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 21, 2017 17:25 ET (21:25 GMT)