Pork futures prices went into a nose dive Monday as traders made last-minute adjustments in estimating the hog population in major producing states. As it turned out, they made the right guess.
The Agriculture Department announced after the close that both the population and the number of animals kept for marketing were substantially more than observers forecast last week.
The slump in pork futures, which fell the limit allowed for daily trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, pulled cattle down, too.
In some other markets, platinum and cotton advanced the limit while oil traded lower.
The Agriculture Department's hog and pig census put both the total number of animals and those kept for marketing 5% below the year-ago figure. Analysts had estimated last week that both categories would be 8% lower. The number of females kept for breeding is 10% fewer, while 9% less had been expected.
"The pig crop report will be bearish" for Tuesday's market, said Charlie Richardson, an analyst in Denver with Lind-Waldock. "But it will be partly tempered by the limit losses" on Monday.