Showers across much of the Midwest sent agricultural futures prices into a nosedive Monday, with many corn, soybean and oat contracts down the daily limit on the Chicago Board of Trade.
On other markets, silver was sharply lower, cattle futures were mostly a little higher while hogs were lower and oil futures were mostly lower. Agricultural futures were "a classic weather market," said Walter Spilka, an analyst in New York with Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.
Prices had trended higher in recent weeks as a dry spell in Midwest lingered, threatening the soybean crop in particular.
On Friday, rain began to creep into some forecasts and prices weakened a little despite longrange projections of drier than normal conditions.
"But the rains finally came, as inevitably they would," said Spilka. "I don't think there was enough to relieve the situation entirely, but this was a convenient time to take profits."
Showers are expected to continue this week, with many areas from the Rockies to the Appalachians accumulating an inch of rain and some spots getting two to three inches, said Steve Freed, an analyst with Dean Witter Reynolds Inc.