COMMODITIES : Orange Juice Futures Close Up Their Daily Limit Again

From Associated Press

The New York Cotton Exchange ordered an early halt to trading in frozen concentrated orange juice futures Monday after prices soared to reach the daily limit on price increases for two consecutive sessions.

On other markets livestock and meat futures were mixed, precious metals were lower, grains and soybeans were mixed and stock-index futures were higher.

Prices for most orange juice futures rose substantially to reach the 5-cent-a-pound daily limit on a rumor that Brazilian processors were set to raise their prices, said Judy Weissman Ganes, an analyst in New York for Shearson Lehman Bros.

The exchange suspended trading in orange juice futures 1 1/2 hours before the normal 2:45 p.m. EDT close to process orders from unusually heavy volume on Monday and the previous Friday, when prices also rose to the limit, Ganes said.

But traders received what Ganes called some bearish news after the close when the Agriculture Department released its monthly crop production report.

The department revised its Florida orange harvest estimate to 135 million boxes from 130 million.

The USDA also increased its orange juice yield projection to 1.48 gallons per box from 1.46, which would result in an 8-million-gallon increase from the previous forecast.

"I don't know if people had expected that big a jump in this report," Ganes said.

Frozen concentrated orange juice for March delivery settled 5 cents higher at $1.745 a pound.

Cattle futures rallied on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on higher cash prices for live and feeder cattle, analysts said.

Live hogs settled mixed, with the nearby February contract pressured by lower cash prices and increased slaughters.

Soybeans settled sharply lower and corn finished inexplicably higher on the Chicago Board of Trade, analysts said.

Soybeans retreated on a lack of follow-through buying from Friday's strong close, said Victor Lespinasse, a trader for Dean Witter Reynolds.

Gold and silver futures drifted lower on New York's Commodity Exchange in advance of Friday's report on the U.S. merchandise trade deficit, said Bernard Savakl, an analyst in New York for Paine Webber Inc.

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