Livestock futures plummeted the limit allowed for daily trading Thursday in a wave of profit taking apparently prompted by weak demand for beef and pork products.
Futures prices also fell on most other commodity markets. Precious metals, copper, grains and soybeans, energy futures and stock index futures all retreated.
The Commodity Research Bureau index, a measure of the performance of 21 commodities, fell 2.07 points, a fairly large move for the indicator.
Livestock and meat traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange had been ignoring the weakening cash markets for beef and pork products, but their attitude changed abruptly on Thursday, analysts said.
"We've had a horrible beef market for three weeks and it never bothered anybody. Today it started bothering everybody," said Charlie Richardson, an analyst in Denver for Lind-Waldock & Co.
Tables, Page 8