FINANCIAL MARKETS : COMMODITIES : Cotton Futures Extend Steep Slide

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Cotton futures prices fell sharply on the New York Cotton Exchange, extending a slide that began last week and representing the market's steepest drop this year.

On other commodity markets, energy futures rallied; sugar plummeted; precious metals were lower; grains and soybeans were mixed, and livestock and meat futures were mixed.

Cotton futures fell 0.8 cent to the permitted daily limit of 2 cents, with the contract for delivery in October off 2 cents at 76.74 cents a pound. The July contract expired at 90 cents a pound.

The retreat followed limit losses in most contracts on Friday. Analysts attributed the selloff to profit taking after a six-month rally that boosted the price of cotton for near-term delivery from about 66 cents in early January to a high of 93.9 cents a pound on July 5.

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